Build a Better Salad By Joy Ladin

Build a Better Salad

            For Annie Kantar
            All text taken from the July 2005 issue of Redbook
Want some advice? 
You’re no fun any more
but all the great taste remains,
excreted in human milk, sour cream,
female pain, ejaculation failure.
Seems like a healthy marriage? 
It’s all about what makes you. 
It’s all about you:
You deserve to live. Why do it with depression?
Tell her what’s on your mind
little by little, mixing frequently, cutting
into very small pieces
the formula that helps you
stay in the family.
You have pressed the snooze button
too many times, skirting the issue,
rubbing against each other’s darks,
stopping your craving before it starts
to grow… to learn… to thrive…
You shouldn’t fall asleep.
She’s trying to tell you something. To connect
in little ways, mother, daughter, sister, friend,
taking risks to be supportive, full of love
even if it doesn’t smell that way. The future
isn’t too far away, the updated version
you don’t have to hide
before you get dressed.
Still, how do you live right now,
making demands on a marriage already in trouble,
mixing frequently, little by little,
man with woman, chicken
with egg? Consider this
your warm-up zone
to deal with all of life’s challenges,
dressing up, going through the process, letting go
of surrender. Your new life –
you’re avoiding at least two –
may not contain as much morning
as a juicy fresh one,
but it does have redeeming value
you don’t have to sacrifice
when you look in the mirror: light
condensed into a very small bite,
a cherry and cucumber scent
penetrating deep
to give your body back
the shape you’ve always wanted. Fill up,
drink up the morning!
Beauty is served.

Joy Ladin is Gottesman Professor of English at Yeshiva University. A regular contributor to Parnassus: Poetry in Review, she has been or will soon be published in Prairie Schooner, Southwest Review and many other publications. Her third book of poetry, Transmigration, will be published by Sheep Meadow Press in 2009.