Dr Paul's Poetry Pages
I suppose it's for all three reasons you hide
your head under a cloth:
First to keep all the aroma to yourself
and intensify the sensation by focusing all your senses
on this little roasted delicacy.
What color is best but white for the cloth
so you can give no play to the imagination of the eye
but bring yourself to a point and curl your magazine teeth around the bird:
O, but of course, to protect the others at table
from any indelicate insides squirting out
from your mouth and staining your neighbor's clothes.
What would it do to have uric acid from the cloaca get on your friend's black dress,
what would it do as that slightly bitter taste,
such a hint probably of bile by the way, doesn't all get to your mouth
but forms a bit of drool on your chin.
The article never did explain:
are the birds starved first for a day to clear the gut
of seeds or insects or are they fed a final batch of special grains
to make an inside out pie?
Four and twenty black seeds baked in a bird.
Of course no one buys the reason given
for the cloth: to hide the act from the eye of God.
Silly geese some say, of course there is no god
and this is just a ritual left over to the French from Roman times.
And we know their gods are dead.
Others say, of course, the cloth cannot hide us because God sees all.
So why the cloth?
Ask yourself as bits of skull
crunch between your molars
and as the brain rolls around your mouth.
You can press it against your palette and get the taste plus subtle
mushroom yielding as the organ disintegrates.
Sorry but I do not, as you assume,
expect a perfect governance of the mind in moral matters.
For after all I eat snails on occasion in little acetabula:
Snails and garlic sauce and no cloth to spare the sensibilities.
Or I eat frog legs, the frogs shot with a bow.
I wonder how the chef kills the snails.
Perhaps by scooping from the shell with a special spoon?
Ah..but alcohol, about 14 proof that's the way to go.
And that is how I put the earthworms out for dissection in zoölogy class this week.
Earthworms, snails and, but of course, slugs:
all laid out glistening, iridescent-
vulnerable to the scalpel
as I imagine the soul to be
to the eye of God when the cloth
becomes a shroud.
for my zoölogy class, Washburn University, Spring 1995.
Copyright © Paul Decelles 1995,1999