Family Meal

It is not uncommon for one of us to read The Daily while we all sit around before dinner service in our chef whites and server blacks sharing a pot of pasta/red sauce or last night’s braised lamb special repurposed as a shepherd’s pie or fried rice and announce that yesterday someone jumped off Lower Yellowstone Falls in front of all the tourists or that over the weekend a guy called the police department reporting a dead body in the Cache Creek parking lot only to hang up the phone and be the one to shoot himself in the head or that last night the baker from the pub was found by his wife hanging in his garage and it turns into that discussion of would you rather die by fire or drowning starved to death or mauled by a grizzly and I pick drowning or mauled by a grizzly, although I think dying with a whole bunch of strangers in a natural disaster or plane crash is somehow comforting and I don’t tell them this or that I have thought about it and I would never choose somewhere so public like Lower Yellowstone Falls but somewhere far out of sight away from a road, but I realize that if it really is that far out of sight away from a road I would have to walk and I would have to carry water and food to sustain myself long enough to die and how could I ever choose what provisions to bring because hell if PB & J on a plain bagel is my last meal, but it can’t be something too good like a Reuben because that might make me want to stay, still after they tell us tonight’s specials at line-up, I will ask if any of it contain nuts shellfish dairy or gluten because I don’t want anyone to die in my section tonight.

Leah Shlachter is a Kundiman Fellow and holds an MFA from Pacific University. Her poems have been published in The Hawai'i Review, Talking Writing, Black Lawrence Press and Bamboo Ridge. She lives in Jackson, Wyoming.