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When I picked up my cell, I heard Susannah muttering

Saints and bunnies! as she left the bookstore.

A hundred thousand titles in stock

Dating for Dummies! The Complete Idiot's Guide

to Learning Yiddish! Men Made Easy!

and not a blessed one to be found

on cooking for vegetarian zombies.

For the ninety-ninth time, I told her, same

as you'd feed any other rabbit-food fascist.

If Shirley's too good for grits and cheese and slaw,

your Aunt Marybelle has a guest room just as nice,

Aunt Marybelle being Unitarian, see,

and thus already well-versed

in unnatural ways with peanut butter

not to mention their so-called salads

(token shreds of lettuce and tomato

smothered beneath more trimmings than a turkey),

what with half of her church being herbivores.

Me, I don't hold with pumpkin seeds and papayas.

You can doll up an ugly girl with a fancy dress,

and pretty up rice with unpronounceable mushrooms,

but flayed by a job that leaves me more dead

than alive at the end of each day, all I want

is meat on my plate and a woman whose flesh

glows when the lights are still on. But, all told,

Shirley still is kin, and Susannah kind as they come,

and Aunt Marybelle more than helpful in her way

(her scrambled tofu's near as it gets to brains).

Peg Duthie shares a house in Nashville, Tennessee, with a brown dog and a piano tuned a half-step high. Her poems have appeared in Dead Mule, flashquake, and elsewhere, and she owes Heisenberg's ghost a round. You can find her poem Some Houseguests Can't Be Helped in our archives.
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15 Jul 2024

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