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To a Picky Eater at Love's Table

This isn't the love you sent back to the kitchen,
the one you now remember as seasoned exactly
to your taste, which you now admit you returned
because you weren't that hungry and because
you thought the kitchen would be open all night.

And now this is set before you. Ominous shapes
in—is it puttanesca? Hunan?—sauce
which stings the tip of your tongue. The smell that rises
repels, attracts—and is this pottery crude
or priceless art you're not qualified to judge?

You miss the pretty plate, that sweet, mild meal
that never burned your lips. I'm not saying make do.
I'm saying it's a long time between meals out here,
and gourmets are pressing their noses to the window
for a whiff of what is cooling on your plate.

Susan Blackwell Ramsey

A Mind Like This
University of Nebraska Press

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