2019 Life Logs, Day 10: Entertaining Day
Date: Thursday, January 10, 2019
Weather: Mostly Cloudy with a Few Snow Flurries; High 35, Low 20 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

I started my day by attending a Newcomers General Meeting. Today we had guest musicians, not a guest speaker. It was quite entertaining. When I got home, I got a Facebook notification telling me my nephew’s son, Josh, had posted a link. I went to see what it was and it was a link to the Aquifer, The Florida Review Online, publishing another of Josh’s poems. Josh is an instructor at Georgia State University in Atlanta where he is working to get his PhD in English (Creative Writing). He has had many of his works published, but I was especially taken in by this one. When Mark and I lived on a small farm in southern West Virginia in the early 80’s, we raised lambs for meat. When Justin was three, he asked, “Who are we eating for dinner tonight?” When he heard the answer, he didn’t eat meat again until he was an adult and I have never eaten lamb again. You’ll understand my connection when you read Josh’s poem. But if you love lamb, maybe you should skip the read. Congratulations, Josh! I am very proud to have a young poet in the family.

WHAT WE ATE
Not loin chops cooked Moroccan style,
palm-sized, presented like gifts
simmering with harrisa-spiked hummus,
nor the shoulder placed atop a small knoll
of onions and peppers, flavor brimming
in each slashed sinew, but the heart,
that muscle which, to me, still seems untouchable
in the hierarchy of organs. In French curry
we ate what once beat in the smooth body
of the lamb, the taste of iron coiled
around our tongues like a rope swing,
the meat perfectly tender to chew
on a dilemma: better to waste nothing
or keep one thing sacred, worshipped
as we do our own ventricles?
And as we swallowed I did not think
of the lamb force-fed with a stomach tube
in a barn in North Georgia, its legs wobbly
on an altar of hay, but a hundred other hearts—
Nefertiti’s pulsing wildly for the sun god Aten,
Napoleon’s stopped briefly at Waterloo,
and those closer, more real—
my mother’s stepped on like an amaryllis
in a field swollen with weeds, my brother’s
heart, desires I’ll never know, humming
like a complex engine, its pistons
clogging with blood, and so forgive me,
little ounce of lamb, for taking
your heart on a piece of jagged
ciabbata, and when I say I forced you down
with water, believe me when I tell you
I took only the slightest pleasure
and that I did not clean my plate.

JOSHUA MARTIN
Joshua Martin is a PhD student in Creative Writing at Georgia State University, where he teaches Composition. He has published work (or has work forthcoming) in Tupelo Quarterly, Salamander, Nashville Review, Raleigh Review, Tar River Poetry, The Cortland Review, Louisiana Literature, and elsewhere.

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