April poetry, day 9

Because People in Africa are Starving

As Catholics, my family didn’t eat
filet mignon, pork loin,
or even roast chicken on Fridays.

We dined on breaded, baked cod,
broiled flounder, pan-fried trout,

an inconvenience for my father,
who abhorred fish, although looking back,
I think his distaste made
the penance all the sweeter for him.

Once I choked on a cross-hatch
of bones lodged in my throat,
until my father whacked
me on the back to save me.

From then on, at the six o’clock
Friday meal, I’d stall for time,
slip the tines of my fork
between flaky slivers of flesh,

ever aware of my father’s eye,
his rule that we clean our plates.


For Poetic Aside’s prompt to write about Fridays. I’ve got two poems to write, plus one for tomorrow, to catch up with the thirty-poems-in-thirty-days challenge. After driving 540 miles today, even posting this poem for Friday was a stretch, but I don’t want to get so far behind that there’s no hope to stay in the game.

I promise to come round and visit everyone on Sunday, 🙂

In the meantime, I’m working on ideas for a poem about a memory (aren’t they all?) from Poetic Asides, Carolee’s prompt about paradise, and Jill’s prompt about the fifty words. The last two exercises can be found at Read Write Poem.


3 thoughts on “April poetry, day 9

  1. jo says:

    This is excellent. Perfect. Not a word too many or too few and so many gorgeous phrases, crosshatch of bones, slip the tines of my fork, his rule that we clean our plates…..very well done, C. Welcome home!!!!


  2. dale says:

    I like this too. Reminds me of the showdown we had with our daughter when she was seven or eight. She had to eat three bites of fish before she left the table. Three hours and much fury & tears later, we won.

    A Pyrrhic victory. We never tried to make her eat fish (or anything else) again 🙂


  3. Michelle says:

    Welcome home. We missed you, but it’s been so good to read your away poems.

    Wonderful images here, C. Like Jo, I love “cross-hatch of bones” and “flaky slivers of flesh”. Perfectly described.

    I find this really insightful:

    “I think his distaste made
    the penance all the sweeter”


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