It’s amazing what a year in solitude will make me yearn for– events I never liked in the first place– overly crowded outdoor festivals with $12 bud lights and lousy cover bands, waiting in line for the breakfast buffet, the Chinese buffet, the casino buffet that brags 30 dishes of mediocre praise. Give me a straw already broken free from its paper envelope, a meal someone else cooked with sweat from the forehead dripped in, a cigarette hanging between their lips.
Take me back to the time when food was displayed in outdoor markets. Heaped into bins to sweat under the morning then afternoon sun. Olives glistening. Flies camouflaged on poppy breads and raisin rolls. Tomatoes unwaxed in mounds and sun-bleached linen shirts hanging. People shouldering through crowds, not worrying what their breath might carry or what might be carried to them. People touching crowns of broccoli, swollen purple and red figs. People plucking grapes and plopping them into their impossibly open mouths.
Rae Hoffman Jager is the author of One Throne (2017). Her most recent manuscript, American Bitch, was a semi-finalist with Sundress Press and Birdcoat Quarterly. Rae’s poetry has appeared most recently in Juke Joint and The Moth. She has work forthcoming in New York Quarterly. Her work has been described as rambunctious, urgent, funny, and elegiac. Rae holds a BA from Warren Wilson College and an MFA from Wichita State University. For more information, you can visit her website at www.raehoffmanjager.com.