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Laura McCullough

The Business of Feeding People (with Cherries)

you do not eat that which rips your heart with joy. –Tom Lux

Thinking deeply about the needs

of the audience, the audience being

whom you will be feeding, what

concerns about their bodies, their

chemistry, their hearts, and mind

mind you, because that matters,

as well, the habits and pleasures

of accustomed tastes and textures

mattering, you must try to appeal

to that, some level of gastronomic



there is the planning

and the purchasing, the grocery

stores you go for different ingredients

and bulk items, or some just enough

for only one meal and how to organize,

how to make sure you have bags ready,

or you will leave with armfuls heavy

and precariously balances, a jumble

in the back hatch of your vehicle,

a sloppy mess, maybe broken eggs

or jars because you forgot transport



bags, coolers, boxes,

the packaging needed to get things

from stores to the home place

where you must then sort, stack,

combine, date, and commit

to memory regarding the menus

and dates and numbers of meals

needed and for whom and what

their nutritional issues are and also

and also their tiny desires, humble

as a jar of maraschino cherries in


Or that brand...

of root beer or type

of onion he likes, you will slice

thin to top his favorite sandwiches,

the ones he is not allowed to eat,

yet any one might be the last, and

who would deny him this pleasure?

This, too, is part of your job: when

to and the when not to; you decide

which is more important, his health

or last pleasures, some modicum

of joy.


The wages of dying is love. –Galway Kinnell

Trying to be a good citizen, you save

and carry bags everywhere, storing

them in cabinets, drawers, closets. When

you come in from shopping, it’s hard

to remember to put them in your car,

and next time you come out of Trader

Joe's with your arms clumsily cradling

as a basket the big sunhat you found

in the car in the backseat under a towel

from the summer the last time you got

to a beach, and you fill it with limes

and lemons and a jar or two of things

you felt you could not find at Wegmans