though she still sits there
across from me in the restaurant,
and leans over the table to dip
her bread in the oil on my plate; I know
how thick her hair used to be,
and what it takes for her to discard
her man’s cap partway through our meal,
to look straight at the young waiter
and smile when he asks
how we are liking it. She eats
as though starving—chicken, dolmata,
the buttery flakes of filo—
and what’s killing her
eats, too. I watch her lift
a glistening black olive and peel
the meat from the pit, watch
her fine long fingers, and her face,
puffy from medication. She lowers
her eyes to the food, pretending
not to know what I know. She’s going.
And we go on eating. (by Kim Addonizo)
I rose early this morning as I usually do, read, thought of people, prayed and wandered about our house thinking of my day. This evening we’re having friends in for dinner and I am so excited about it.
While it was still dark this morning, I clicked the switch which lighted the wreath on our stair wall, admired it, took its picture, then walked to the dining room where the table is already set for our 6:00 evening meal. Took its picture too. 🙂
I didn’t have a particular one in mind, but I wanted a poem to include with this post I knew I would be making; one of food and festivities and friends. I didn’t come across what I had in mind . . . and then I found the one posted above . . . which brought me up short . . . and which I decided to post here, although it is not at all what I had considered. Perhaps, though, it is.
As far as I know all of us who will dine together tonight are in good health. No grim diagnosis has been handed any of us, no frightening words have been spoken in a sterile cubicle from which those chosen stagger forth. No, we are healthy, happy friends–some very young, some barely eying middle age, and others–Jerry and I–having made our peace with the moniker of the aged. (Well, I’ve not quite made peace with the word and the idea–still kickin’ a bit.) But . . . we are all going. The young. The old.
Eat then; have friends to your place for dinner. Talk. Talk of love, of God, of family, of progress, of those who have died, of grandbabies newly born, of weddings, of politics, of successes and of challenges.
From my oven, I just took a pumpkin pie which we will eat tonight unless we choose chocolate cream instead. I’m cooking the finest meal I can, and setting the table with the best and the prettiest things I own. For my friends. Do me a favor. Do yourself a favor. Call up a friend and have them in for a meal. A hotdog will do if that’s what you can manage, or a ribeye precisely grilled or a cup of Peet’s coffee and a cinnamon roll. Easy to put it off. Easy to intend to do it, but just not get around to making the call.
We should, though. For we are going. All of us.