Thursday, September 11, 2008


This is somewhat tangentially related to a comment chain on Rose-Anne's blog, and also seems like a good end-of-summer post. Plus I seem to be in a poetry mood lately :) I am always taken aback at how often life seems to be all famine or all flood and it's nice to know that Marge Piercy is too, at least about zucchini.

Attack of the squash people
by Marge Piercy

And thus the people every year
in the valley of humid July
did sacrifice themselves
to the long green phallic god
and eat and eat and eat.

They're coming, they're on us,
the long striped gourds, the silky
babies, the hairy adolescents,
the lumpy vast adults
like the trunks of green elephants.
Recite fifty zucchini recipes!

Zucchini tempura; creamed soup;
saute with olive oil and cumin,
tomatoes, onion; frittata;
casserole of lamb; baked
topped by cheese; marinated;
stuffed; stewed; driven
through the heart like a stake.

Get rid of the old friends: they too
have gardens and full trunks.
Look for newcomers: befriend
them in the post office, unload
on them and run. Stop tourists

in the street. Take truckloads
to Boston. Give to your Red Cross.
Beg on the highway: please
take my zucchini, I have a crippled
mother at home with heartburn.

Sneak out before dawn to drop
them in other people's gardens,
in baby buggies at churchdoors.
Shot, smuggling zucchini into
mailboxes, a federal offense.

With a suave reptilian glitter
you bask amidst your raspy
fronds sudden and huge as
alligators. You give and give
too much, like summer days
limp with heat, thunderstorms
bursting their bags on our heads,
as we salt and freeze and pickle
for the too little to come.


Rosiecat said...

"Get rid of the old friends: they too have gardens and full trunks."

Hilarious! Plants have no shame ("the long green phallic god").

ammie said...

This is by no means my favorite poem of hers, but I crack up every time I read the line about having a crippled mother at home with heartburn.