Ray Succre is an undergraduate currently living on the southern Oregon coast with his wife and son. He has had poems published in Aesthetica, Poets and Artists, and Pank, as well as in numerous others across as many countries. His novels Tatterdemalion (2008) and Amphisbaena (2009), both through Cauliay, are widely available in print. Other Cruel Things (2009), an online collection of poetry, is available through Differentia Press.
At tables, Sunday, eleven morning,
the mussitation of grunt-hoot churchers
in from reverence drills, dull and tired,
a divine aftermath with breakfast, public.
One wricks church-speak to chirrup a tale
of an aunt that went daft as a day-moth,
and another blows and cries laughing.
But the talk of devotions rises up again,
tall eyes, lowered voices, focused tones.
Minutes then, and all of them plummet
into steaming ricks of feed on plates
and devour the smells first.
Their spiritual talk grinds into its cap;
eggs and bacon, coffee and toast,
a quick valve of certainty.
The Light Meal Hobbyist
They were switches I hit to make the room hungry,
a pace of all present to my table of plates
just as swift.
On the door-side wall, taking little for themselves,
a row of switches half-alive, the feast lot.
It was a flick of switch ‘Spaetzle’ that made James want,
and an economical, curt toggle of ‘Roast Beet and Ginger’
that spurred Mrs. Bindly’s halo of curls to face the kitchen.
There were others; some turned and some were levered.
Some were pressed. “You can cook,” was muttered.
The guests were cuds of judgments I meant to tip over.
What did they know of food? The meal I cohered
for my Kero folk was a work like the books of the
long dead men my wife read at night.
“This plate’s not good enough for what’s on it,” she said.
The ‘Son-in-Law Eggs and Peanut Syrup’ relayed:
from porcelain to fork to tongue, then in the eyes.
What will they remember of food?
Switches: what, when, where, and especially who,
a sadness I have known to damage cooks.
The meal was expanded into comment, my night
re-affixed, each guest finding a slaked posture.
They were switches I hit with nothing but the why.
Women are beating the river with their clothes,
fruitlessly working the hard floor with their soles,
to keep cool and be uncoiled,
marauder-eyed in the mutations of Summer.
Behind them, confidently hung from the Sun,
dirty-chested and suckered down by sight of fish,
the rapacious, broad-bellied men who speak
of the crawdaddies and century’s men.
The women and the men are a sampling
of yet more mineral and substance.
They wade, nonetheless, in the cool river—
itself like a destiny—to suffice themselves,
while owning, perchance, the rocky bottom,
and diving, perhaps—never deep.