Thanks. Giving.
By Helen R. Peterson

Belinda, face obscured with a mass of curls under her knitted cap,
digs into her white meat while she tells me about the mastectomy
she’ll have next month after seventeen years of remission.

Olive man grunts, “It’s better now she’s old,”
while he leans over the table, digging in the relish dish
for more of his namesake, black and green.
A harsh statement, unless you see the look in his eyes
as he watches her lift fork to mouth.
What is a piece of the pie when you get to keep the rest?

After all, there will be a little less of her he’ll have to protect
down by the river flowing nearby like the brown gravy
pushing through the white porcelain bowl of mashed potatoes.
One less thing to catch the eyes of rovers who don’t give a damn
about the age of a woman’s cunt.

She glances up and catches his look returns it briefly,
tart as cranberries, soft as sage stuffing, before they both look away
—giving thanks.