The dinner lottery

Most people don't cook any longer.
They don't know how or fear
time in the kitchen will turn them
into sad housewives in chains.

Then there are those who imagine
they can. Some despise recipes
invent gooey stew the texture
and taste of Gorilla Glue, chops

fried to shingles good for water-
proofing a roof, salads only some
man hoping to get laid would eat.
Nobody ever threw together

an edible cake. Some at the other
extreme think It's high living
to cook only recipes that require
40 ingredients, some so obscure

you don't know if they're animal
vegetable or beetle grub. Perhaps
scrapings of some moon rock.
I used to visit friends who'd begin

cooking hours before we ever got
a taste. We'd all hover in their
kitchen salivating, fantasizing
take-out, and still the host

would have yet another glass
and chatter and forget an item
or two or three. At ten-thirty
we'd sit down to something grey

we'd fall upon, willing to eat
raw worms, cat food or even
the tablecloth. Dining with friends
can remind why restaurants exist.

by Marge Piercy

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In spite of being told by the head of the English Department of her high school in Detroit that she should give up poetry as she had no talent, and in spite of being informed by her first English Department professor at the University of Michigan that what she wrote about were not "proper poetic subjects," being all wet and smelly, Marge Piercy has insisted on publishing 19 books of poetry, 17 novels, a book of short stories, a memoir, and four nonfiction books. She lives with Ira Wood and four cats in the woods of Wellfleet where they grows lots of vegetables and annoy Republicans.