Howl

The Maker of the Menu

It was a boiling, hot, steamy night
we went out, to eat
We sat down, and there it was
it was on the menu
it was all on the menu
If you start with, “I want …”
it was all on the menu

All the parts, but not the whole
ribs, breasts, livers, thighs
I began to feel less than high
All the parts and an occasional face
I couldn’t face it
My mind was swimming in my body’s sweat
it was a cold, chilling line that caught me
delivered by the waiter’s face

“Are you on the menu?”
I looked down, not wanting to face it
“Are you on the menu?” It was a weighted line
I looked deeper into my china bowl and said,
“My friends are on the menu”
He looked into my china bowl, and drawing a deep breath
he said, “You see, the u in menu is you. You sheep …
you pigs, you cattle, your dog … you chicken”

“Order! Order!” It was my father’s voice
I looked up into my mother’s face, afraid to speak
She spoke, “You order what your father did.
He buys your dinner,
and we brought you up to love thy neighbor, not your friends
so, order from the men – you”, and

So it was until I began to read by hand
and touch the ribs, the breasts, the hearts
and put the parts back in the whole and
so it was until I found the maker of the menu

8/95

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