Poem by Patric Pepper
Food for Thought
He sits in the kitchen sipping organic green tea
and ponders how they might pay for two new
windows to be put in by who knows whom
and how, when she returns from the farmer’s
market, a shudder of enthusiasm as she carries
in bag after bag of really good looking food,
little orange tomatoes and corn on the cob,
red peppers and green peppers and scallions,
two bunches of parsley and a dozen eggs
laid by hens the farmer calls her “little girls,”
“From hens with names!” she says, “Like
Emma and Gracie, Rosa, and Butterscotch,
Waif, Sweetie, and Big Berta.” And loaves
of bread, one rye and one sour dough. He asks
about the windows, wonders aloud, “Should
we spend the money?—How much did all
this cost?—Oh, these rotten windows!” But
she has no time for it. She puts the veggies
on the kitchen table, a loaf of bread on top
of his calculator, and arranges the food into
what she calls “a still-alive-still-life,” and then
runs and gets her camera to snap a bunch
of photos. She says, “Go get me your plastic
Buddha. Quick! While our inspiration
is still alive.” He does as instructed, returns
and says, “We aren’t rich, you know,”
as she places the plastic Buddha just so
amid the produce, and says, “That’ll do nicely.”
But adds, “What do you mean we aren’t rich?
Look at all this food! Grown just a few miles
down the road! Someday it’ll all be this way.
Good food, grown just down the road. And it’s
organic—everyone ought to be eating organic!
Darling, don’t say we aren’t rich: That’s crazy.
We’ll get windows because we are rich. See?”
Patric Pepper is the author of three poetry chapbooks and a full length collection. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, the poet Mary Ann Larkin.
These poems were recognized at the 2019 WFD Poetry Competition