A Stomach Growls for Love

by Houghton Piker

I open a can of chicken noodle,
                       the radio's on,
         and every song's about love or lust.
I turn on the stove and realize
                   so much in romance
       goes unsaid,
             particularly about nutrition.
Oh, clearly, love is not meat nor drink,
                   nor is it carbohydrate or dairy.

Lovers often have such little appetite
          for anything
              besides each other.
The burgers barely get eaten,
          the french fries go ignored.
Look at paintings
         of lovers entwined -- see how her ribs show,
        notice the circles under his eyes.
Can't they stop
         for a snack?

What can be done about les amoureux malnourished?
         Perhaps a telethon,
            hosted by a paternal yet nonthreatening celebrity,
where sweethearts trot out,
         arms tightly round
         each other,
  oblivious to the band, the ringing telephones,
the tray of ham sandwiches left by the crew.
      Maybe pamphlets should be printed
advising lovers that during those painful moments apart
   they should store up sugars,
    ingest proteins,
          take megavitamins,
make up for long days spent in bed that dehydrate and deplete.

I think I understand how the simple beauty
              can lose its luster,
how one craving can so easily
            destroy another.
              For example,
I have Saltines out
           but instead I opt
         for a cookie.

(Previously published in Long Island Sounds 2008.)

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