Campbell Corner Poetry Prize

Distinguished Entries 2001

Martin Jude Farawell: Take and Eat

Take and Eat

Bring me the fresh mozzarella, milk-slick
slippery tongue, ripe Ave Maria breathed
from a breast-fed mouth,
and the redolent, heart-breaking
Romano, whose one crumb burns
like the first kiss
of the first-loved one. And blessed be
Provolone and Locatteli, Cheddar and Jarlsberg,
Edam, Havarti, Brie,
for the fat of my body
does not curdle and crack.

Bring me the round, dark loaves,
the brown drums, Christ's cross slit
into their gum-punishing crusts
that make the palate throb
with the miracle of root and water
and desert light breaking
from the gold seed.
And blessed be grindstone and mortar,
matzo, pita, tortilla,
and everything that rises
from the work of hands,
wheat, pumpernickel, sourdough, rye
and the sweet Portuguese,
for the loaves of my body
are not broken.

Bring me the meek lentils, the humble blessings
of earth's bounty, the white navy and northern,
the pinto, red kidney and black bean
shimmering in herbed broth at ten centuries'
hearthstones. And blessed be olives, gleaming
in their oil, and raisins and peanuts, almonds and dates,
prunes, figs, poppyseeds, pignoli,
for the bowl of my pelvis does not glimmer
with maggots, with the dazzle of blue-bottles.

Bring me the open flesh, the lamb of God
steaming in a bed of rosemary, wet
with burnt offering's blood,
and crisp, broiled bacon, salty
as love grease, animal hunger aching
in the canines. And blessed be
roasted capon, the dark turkey thigh,
the sweet white, and the scorched skin
crackling, for the pink muscling
in my mouth
is no crow's delicacy,
and no coyote tugs
at my haunch bones.

Bring me the herbs of the field,
basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme,
the green awakening in waves
of gooseflesh from a kiss;
tarragon, chive, scallion radiant
on the tongue, and the mouth waters rising
through root and stem, leaf, flower, fruit.
And blessed be carrot and yam,
asparagus, arugula, radichio,
artichoke and broccoli
and the sacred jalepeno,
for the seeds that cling to me
do not sprout, nor tubers swell
beneath my ribs.

Bring me the purple-black grape, black
as a moonless April night, the twelve chosen
surfeited with blood, Bacchus praying
in the garden, drunk with the promise
of new fruit on the broken vine. And blessed be
the voluptuous red, globed
tumescence spurting between the teeth,
runneling down my chin, your chin
until we crane forward,
laughing with our mouths full,
for the waters of our bodies
have not soured.

Bring me this laughter dawning
over my table, for I have been
cooking all day for you, my hands anointed
with olive oil, and the smell
of garlic on my fingers is the smell
of love, for I held the white bulb
against the bulb of my thumb
and sliced paper-thin, and sauteed
with my best wine, the one saved
for friends. And blessed be
anywhere where any two
sit close enough to sit inside
each other's warmth, for where the aura
of two bodies overlap
the gate of heaven is.