Day Five Poem: What Were the Members of the Donner Party Hungry For Before They Set Out on the Trail?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

What Were the Members of the Donner Party Hungry For Before They Set Out on the Trail?

And why are pizzas round, and do trees dream?
These questions keep me awake at night, as do
thoughts of decades decanted and refined in memory,
their solids discarded with no consideration of retention.
Last evening we dined at an Indianapolis restaurant
for the first time in eighteen months. My steak
was pink and juicy. Tender. The Russian River pinot
bore flavors of cherry and dried herbs, with perhaps
hints of moss-crusted sonnets and mislaid intent
underscored by regret. But tasty, reminding me
that first impressions are truly lasting, and that
I should have bailed five years into that marriage.
Would I eat human flesh? Lord knows I gnawed
on that wolf-trapped foot for years. Lately
I’ve been making rectangular pizzas, in the Detroit
style, with peppered salami, crushed San Marzano
tomatoes and Wisconsin brick cheese, but if I
were to cook myself, toughness (due to age) would be
an issue, and I’d recommend a slow braise in wine
or sake, with parsnips, carrots and minced serrano
peppers. Served over sticky rice, of course. I wonder
if the oak misses me. Though we lived together
for thirty-five years, my roots never dug deep,
but instead spread out just enough to hold on
and stay in place. Until it was time to let go.
So I ask: what does the oak think of me? Do I exist
beyond that first impression of the awkward 25-year
old, or does it recall the older one who tended
its wounds and broken limbs, who watered and fed it
poetry? My hungers have changed with age,
but I still want the same things.

* * *

Many thanks to Jilanne Hoffman for sponsoring this poem and providing the title.

If you’d like to join in on the fun, see my September 5 post for sponsorship details. Give me a title, provide some words. Or think of another challenge! It’s all for a good cause: Brick Street Poetry, Inc. 

Tomorrow’s poem is titled “Scarecrow’s Wealth,” and is sponsored by Charles of Words and Feathers

16 thoughts on “Day Five Poem: What Were the Members of the Donner Party Hungry For Before They Set Out on the Trail?

  1. So resonate with memory solids discarded at random! And analogy of an escaped marriage as a wolf trap – startles, but yup I get that! For me, though, it’s the oak tree lines I keep reading – several times already and will read aloud to MY oak (now but stump, though clearly still alive sending up sprigs). Gosh, I hope our trees recognize us! Would be via energy vibrations, right?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. i.

    what were the members
    of the donner party
    hungry for
    before they set out
    on the trail?

    and why are pizzas round,
    and do trees dream?

    these questions keep me awake at night,
    as do thoughts of decades
    decanted and refined in memory,
    their solids discarded
    with no consideration
    of retention.

    ii.

    last evening
    we dined
    at an indianapolis restaurant
    for the first time
    in eighteen months.

    my steak
    was pink and juicy.

    tender.

    the russian river pinot
    bore flavors of cherry
    and dried herbs,
    with perhaps hints
    of moss-crusted sonnets
    and mislaid intent
    underscored by regret.

    but tasty,
    reminding me
    that first impressions
    are truly lasting, and
    that i should have bailed
    five years into that marriage.

    iii.

    would i eat human flesh?

    lord knows i gnawed
    on that wolf-trapped foot for years.

    iv.

    lately
    i’ve been making rectangular pizzas,
    in the detroit style,
    with peppered salami,
    crushed san marzano tomatoes
    and wisconsin brick cheese,
    but if i were to cook myself,
    toughness (due to age)
    would be an issue, and
    i’d recommend a slow braise
    in wine or sake, with parsnips,
    carrots and minced serrano peppers.

    served over sticky rice, of course.

    v.

    i wonder if the oak misses me.

    though we lived together for thirty-five years,
    my roots never dug deep,
    but instead spread out
    just enough to hold on
    and stay in place.

    until it was time to let go.

    vi.

    so i ask:
    what does the oak think of me?

    do i exist
    beyond that first impression
    of the awkward 25-year old, or
    does it recall the older one
    who tended its wounds
    and broken limbs, who
    watered and fed it
    poetry?

    vii.

    my hungers have changed with age,
    but I still want the same things.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Favorite Poetry 3rd Quarter 2021 – Zouxzoux

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