The Rip Post                                                                                              


Griping about the food in my house was
fruitless. Risky offers to mail it to starving
children in China were always declined
but it could have survived the trip.

Ours was a brand-name menu
stocked with food that wore primary colors -
Mrs. Paul, Swanson, Chef Boy Ar Dee
and our big brother, Oscar Mayer

Banquet fried chicken, bean and
bacon soup courtesy Campbell's,
Seven Seas salad dressing
shaken, not stirred by the surety

that in our house, any meal worth
its sodium content was worth
having an argument over.
But the topic seldom related to

the culinary mediocrity
of eating meat loaf capped with
a ketchup crust. While disks of bologna,
corrugated steaks and boiled hot dogs

puckered ends removed
fed our need for protein -
it was the fighting that seasoned our lives,
curdled the cream of our contentment

successfully stifled our parents' love
rendering it as tasteless as liver
smothered underneath a shallow
disguise of bacon and onions

finally congealing the lime Jell-o that held
our childhoods suspended within
like succulent mandarin oranges
waiting for a peace that never came.

--- Leslie Wolfe-Cundiff


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