Ham and
The Moon
Sit down
and I'll feed you.
Ladle up a bowl of lentil soup,
a little ocean
full of sun and warmth.
Add a salad made of peppers
hot as fallen stars,
avocados, olives,
just a touch of lemon juice
and garlic.

I am not a world class cook
but for you, my friend,
I'll stay up all night
sweating in my kitchen
to bring the cuisine
of eleven nations
to your plate by morning.
You are sick
and you will die,
the doctors say,
but I refuse to let it be
from starvation.

So here, straight from the South,
green beans cooked all day
and my finest crabcakes,
each fork, each taste
a reason to keep living.
For dessert, cherries
so ripe they whisper
carpe diem
or would if cherries
knew much Latin.
After such a dinner,
we can wipe our mouths
clean of crumbs
and of regret.

Because I do not kid myself.
I know the future,
that iron door,
will be there waiting
no matter what
I have baking in the oven.
But in the meantime,
there are ears of sweet corn
and a mother lode of mussels
it is clear God made
especially for steaming.
Take a seat at my table,
I'll cook them up for you.

--- "Ham and the Moon"
Jesse Lee Kercheval
From 75 Poems On Retirement
Robin Champan, Judith Strasser, Editors
©2007 University of Iowa Press
Go to a
of the book
from which
this poem comes

Send us e-mail


Go Home

Go to the most recent RALPH