What We Want

1950s Woman Presenting Holding Freshly Baked Pie
The Poet’s Occasional Alternative
by Grace Paley

I was going to write a poem
I made a pie instead it took
about the same amount of time
of course the pie was a final
draft a poem would have had some
distance to go days and weeks and
much crumpled paper
the pie already had a talking
tumbling audience among small
trucks and a fire engine on
the kitchen floor
everybody will like this pie
it will have apples and cranberries
dried apricots in it many friends
will say why in the world did you
make only one

this does not happen with poems
because of unreportable
sadness I decided to
settle this morning for a re-
sponsive eatership I do not
want to wait a week a year a
generation for the right
consumer to come along

1 thought on “What We Want

  1. The Grace Paley! A very consumable discrimination between the poetic and the edible. I like your brushing off the “unreportable sadness” to refocus on the pie. The poem’s ending puts it all in perspective. “A responsive eatership” is a well-turned humorous phrase, as is “the pie was a final draft.” I like the contrast between the poem’s “much crumpled paper” and the pie’s fruity ingredients, and the details evoking kids “on the kitchen floor.” While the pie sounds scrumptious indeed, I’m glad you gave us this poem to savor.

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