Eat Your Vegetables

A poem.

Eat Your Vegetables

"It is sweet as sugar," she would effuse
at bean pods and fresh-dug carrots,
at squash, asparagus, and newly-shucked peas,
water chestnuts and vine-ripened tomatoes.
An utterance redolent with an almost religious
tenderness – that these common fruits
and tubers should shine beyond all call of duty,
and deliver not just sustenance, but also flavor,
though not so much to overwhelm. Hers the God
of neither whirlwind, nor burning bush,
but of produce – raw, quick-steamed or wok'd,
light on the salt and pepper, buttered to perfection.
Awe at the unvarnished, the effortless, the gentle,
the veracious vegetable of this world.
Which needs no other God to make it sweet.
Which needs no excuse to be.
"Smile awhile," she'd bid her melancholy son.
"Eat your vegetables."
Richard Schiffman

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