As Odes Go

Today I want to be Mr. Neruda
and delight you in the food
that’s gone from steady fingers to waiting lips

But I do not have the grace and lust
of his Odes in me so, instead,
I just relay a story

You see, I really just eat to live
And I envy those who are
the converse of my simple standard

So it began one crisp March afternoon
with a sandwich covered in thick wax paper
and held together with a colored toothpick

The first bite: crusty ciabatta bread
The second bite: tangy red peppers
The third bite: creamy avocado

The fourth bite: smooth Havarti cheese
The fifth bite: crunchy spinach
The next bite: all of it, wrapped into one perfect moment

Oh yes, I savored every last bite,
knowing this creation was the
most perfect sandwich ever invented

The urge to gather every dear friend I know
and sit them down on a blanket to share
was like a kiss you cannot release from

A few weeks later, I left a Starbucks
with a tall white paper bag
and hot Peppermint tea in hand

Inside the bag may as well have been
the holy grail, the Source of all,
the wellspring of life and death

As I strode back to my truck
the knowledge of such food
summoned tears in my eyes

Yes, tears. Tears of gratitude
over a steaming cup of tea
a toasty Caprese sandwich
a tiny bag of Kettle chips
and a decadent chocolate cupcake

“Art thou not divine?”, I chimed
as I bit and chewed and swallowed
and laughed at myself for such somberness

But I wanted to text the world (yes, text)
and proclaim that a sandwich
brought me closer to every one

That in the fluffiness of a cupcake
I melted into every hug I’ve ever
given and received

And in the chomp of the chips
Music floated from my soul
like a chant, a chorus, a call

With the sip of piping Peppermint
I said “Yes” to every face I’ve seen
in the shadow and the light

And that the pesto, cheese, basil, and tomato
softening together was one
wave of compassion after another

But then, yesterday, three boxes
of Thin Mints arrived and
I am as screwed as can be


7 Comments Add yours

  1. Jane says:

    Sometimes, the reasons I love you wash over me in waves of tears and laughter, and they blend together like the layers of a perfect sandwich. And then I get screwed over cookies. And laugh some more.

  2. janis says:

    You are simply scrumptious.
    love you lots. xoxo

  3. Courtney says:

    That is so great. I thought it was someone famous you were quoting and then realized it’s you and you’re just that good, and how should I not have known?. I did get confused by the line you really just “eat to live” b/c didn’t you mean the ohter way around (from what follows), i.e. live to eat? I thought the poem was about someone who doesn’t enjoy food and was curious as to what sort this was? and then found out, no you are one of me/us. laaaaaa. XO

  4. leighsteele says:

    Courtney, good question. Actually, yes, I am an “eat to live”. It’s not that I don’t enjoy food I just don’t take risks with it, don’t really look forward to it, don’t plan around eating, don’t eat enough/often enough, etc. So, to have these two eating experiences I detailed made me a bit more “live to eat”. But, they still didn’t convert me. Haha. Does that make any sense?

  5. Rebekah says:

    Ah see, I am your converse friend over here. Definitely living to eat. Many of my life’s best moments have been around the table, with loved ones, enjoying a spectacular meal. Spontaneous, well-planned, at home or abroad … these experiences are divine. But I DO wish very much that I was more “eat to live” as it can become too much of an obsession. I don’t think that’s a healthy relationship with food! But come one closer to this side, won’t you? =)

  6. housefairy says:

    I loved this! Its like me…only at Panera. Beautiful!

Show Some Love

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s