What if? Ode to hunger

An indirect homage to How to Eat by Thich Nhat Hanh, to mindfulness, and gratitude to wandering what if, here my the poem that appears as an introduction to A History of Connecticut Food. Indulge mindfully, whatever your indulgences may be.


What if the egg
never cracked or the slick moon
of a spoon never borrowed broth
from the blackened kettle
to meet our lips?

What if the apple tree
never shook in a spring storm
or a mantle of snow
never foretold future greens
and silky yellows?

If the cook never tested the pie
or the famished traveler
never asked for seconds,
whose heart would break
with meringue’s collapse
or the steak’s charred crust
folding toward a knife edge?

How would we nourish
our labors if not with
the earth’s capacity to feed us
and the tongue’s aptitude
for savoring?

How would we find
our true selves, spice and all,
without plunging hands
into a mound of dough
or stealing a lick with sloppy fingers?

Who will butter our bread
if not the crepuscular calls
of hunger from which we have
happily never escaped?