The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.
From The Woman Who Fell From the Sky (W. W. Norton, 1994) by Joy Harjo. Copyright © 1994 by Joy Harjo. Used with permission of the author.
the other gold.
Now that’s the stuff,
shredded or melted
the pinnacle of man
in a cheeto puff!
Now that’s the stuff
you’ve been primed for:
fatty & salty & crunchy
and poof—gone. There’s the proof.
Though your grandmother
never even had one. You can’t
have just one. You
inhale them puff—
You’re a chain smoker. Tongue
coated & coaxed
but not saturated or satiated.
It’s like pure flavor,
but sadder. Each pink ping
in your pinball-mouth
by the makers who have studied you,
the human animal, and culled
from the rind
your Eve in the shape
of a cheese curl.
come curl in the dim light of the TV.
Veg out on the verge of no urge
Long ago we beached ourselves,
climbed up the trees then
down the trees,
knuckled across the dirt
& grasses & thorns & Berber carpet.
Now is the age of sitting,
And I must say,
crouched on the couch like that,
you resemble no animal.
Smug in your Snuggie and snug
in your sloth, you look
nothing like a sloth.
And you are not an anteater,
an anteater eats ants
of diabetes. Though breathing,
one could say, resembles a chronic disease.
cheese and what is cheese product?
It’s difficult to say
but being alive today
like a book you can’t put down, a stone
that plummets from a great height. Life’s
a “page-turner” alright.
But don’t worry
if you miss the finale
of your favorite show, you can
catch in on queue. Make room
for me and I’ll binge on this,
the final season with you.
Copyright © 2020 by Benjamin Garcia. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 27, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.