Algebra of Eating

Inside, I am as wide as a
cruller, but only half as sweet.
It’s best not to eat pigeon
until you’ve eaten crow.

What’s eating you? Can you
name it, your particular octopus?
What separates edible from non?
Is it all just a trick of the light?

It’s necessary, some type of order,
so we stop eating once we hit plate,
or at least table; we would hurt
our mouths on the crust of the Earth.

It’s exhausting, though, the sorting:
Eat a Baby Ruth but not its wrapper,
and eschew actual babies. If you must,
you can lightly chew their toes. This is

acceptable. It is acceptable, also,
to eat a cow, but not a dog.
I spend my days working on this
algebra of eating, this formula

that keeps me upright, somewhat
in the world’s good graces, though
my jaws don’t know the difference—
they’re just looking for the next bite.



If it’s Tuesday p.m., check out Open Link Night at dVerse Poets. Also, a programming note: I’ll be writing every day in October (no specific theme) but will go back to posting only on Tuesdays. I have limited firepower, here — September was fun, but now it’s time to rebuild my bank of submittables and not previously publish them each and every day.


15 thoughts on “Algebra of Eating

  1. I really like “It’s best not to eat pigeon until you’ve eaten crow.” I guess each of us deal with what’s ‘eating’ us in a different way. A thoughtful poem.

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