Dish of Mashed Peas

Some people are not destined for happiness,
            and I may be one of them.

You see, in certain parts of the world where
            I have been and now live,

at least in my dreams, happiness is only
               granted to a woman 

who leaves a dish of mashed peas out in
               the moonlight overnight.

But superstition does not name what moon
               phase or if one must

eat the peas. Instructions too vague.
               Peas uneaten. Moon dark.

No happiness yet. I’d ask my nana if she
               were still here,

but she was the one who gauged oven heat
               with a bent elbow

and said happiness was to bake a cake
               until done.

Copyright © 2018 Susan Terris. Reprinted with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Autumn 2018.