He stares at the open refrigerator.
Shelves, mostly empty, except
for a block of cheddar, three eggs,
lettuce that’s seen better days,
milk three days past expiration,
leftover Chinese takeout from
maybe two weeks ago, and
a tomato collapsing upon itself.
He’s got two hours before
the couple from church arrives,
the ones who’ve fed him dinner
three times and now they’re
stopping by, thank God not
He stares at the supermarket,
shelves stuffed with every thing
of every kind, aisle displays
fighting the shopping cart,
special promotions in dairy,
buy-one-get-one-free corn flakes,
all these faux oases found while
wandering in the desert
After all these years of
prison, no one trained him
in the art of munchies and dips,
sweet and savory, what crackers
might be appropriate with edam or
brie, don’t forget cocktail napkins
and toothpicks and plastic utensils
and worse, still, how to make
small talk over bridge nuts and mints.
No one told him that the food
might be less important than
himself, that maybe they might
just want to talk
after all these years.
The editors of Tweetspeak Poetry are hosting a 30-Day, 30-Poem Challenge for Earth Month entitled, appropriately enough, Poetic Earth Month. Today, the featured poem is “Awaiting Arrival” by Ann Doe Overstreet, and the poetry prompt is to write a poem describing the foods you, a friend, or a relative keep on hand in case of someone’s arrival. I used a fictitious character from a story I’ve been working on for a long time.
Photograph by Jordan Madrid via Unsplash. Used with permission.