National Poetry Month Day 12: “Feast Day” by Rita Mae Reese


Feast Day

                for Flannery O’Connor

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When we eat wheat    we devour the sun
        so in this room filled with permanent flowers
let us celebrate not with fasting
        but with Red Sammy Butts’ barbecue.
Lord, let us sink to our knees under the weight
        of Southern appetites. Let us devour
meatballs & turnip greens, rum balls & goose eggs
        all brined in the salt of resurrection.
Let us fill our hollow legs with pink chiffon pie
        & Cokes spiked with coffee.
Let us devour the landscape–
        every cotton field in Georgia
& beyond, every real & imagined plantation
        every pig farm & waiting room.
May we eat & eat & eat    Lord,
        & make no end of this, her hunger.

-Rita Mae Reese

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Rita Mae Reese has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, a Stegner fellowship, and a “Discovery”/The Nation award. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her family.

Her first book, The Alphabet Conspiracy, is available from Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press.

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →