In haste one evening while making dinner
I threw away a potato that was spoiled
on one end.  The rest would have been

redeemable.  In the beige garbage can
it became the consort of coffee grounds,
banana skins, plastic bowls.
I sat it, in its bag, on the curb
to be taken to the dump
where steaming scraps and leaves
return, like bodies over time, to earth.

When the bag fell over and dumped
its contents onto the weedy sidewalk,
the potato turned up
unfailingly, as if to revile me–

looking plumper, firmer, resurrected
instead of disassembling.  It seemed to grow
until I could have made shepherd’s pie
for a whole hamlet–hungry people
who pass the day building fences,
pumping gas, pinning hand-me-down
clothes on the line.

2 Responses to “Potato”

  1. This is really powerful. It speaks to what a wasteful society we are. There are people in countries who would give anything to have just that small bit of potato that was good. This is really well done.

    • sethdellinger Says:

      Thank you!! To me, it is certainly about our culture of excess, but also about the regret of making choices; that person you could have dated but decided not to, that job you could have taken but turned down. How perfect some of these things look later! (which is not entirely unrelated to the culture of excess; some culture’s are not so brimming with choices!)

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