by Jesse Curran

Slice the squash
dice the onion
tend the September bounty
tend tomatoes on the verge of rot
tend tomatoes with soft spots oozing
tend tomatoes with fruit flies teeming
enter suburban survival mode
cut the tomatoes, half inch dice
dice because there has been no eros
dice because there have been idiopathic hives
slice because there is ceaseless chattering
about the powers of Mary Poppins
slice because there are wacky triglycerides
nebulized coughs, respiratory viruses
bounding through our babies
no matter what happens, keep dicing
dice despite sick parents
dice despite their infectious disease doctors
dice despite the hurricanes of tears
remember that despite all, you can dice
you can peel the onions
you can dice and you can slice
yellow squash, striped zucchini clubs
spoon out the seeds, chop the rest
chop because the four year old
will not potty train
chop because the two year old
can’t stop pinching nipples
chop because for the rest of the week
there’s cold oatmeal in the car for breakfast
chocolate-chip granola bars at your desk
for lunch – but come the weekend
a pile of sharp-stemmed eggplant
bunches of basil
sprigs of wild thyme
so you dice—
come Saturday, you peel and trim
you cleave and cube
you stack the staples
in the cast iron Cuisinart
you stir and season and sauté
you simmer a summer
on the verge of rot
you drink table wine
in splatter enamelware
the kids swing in the backyard
and friends come to toast
friends come to eat
your afternoon of dicing
the dried oak crackles in the fire pit
the crisped brown bread
soaks up the stock
this peasant dish fills our bellies
is a small salvation
an effort, a working with
the abundance
we have
and the abundance
we’ve been given

*Photo credit: Leighann Blackwood, Unsplash