Macaroni Sestina

by Andrea Jackson

I was a victim of covetousness
I couldn't stop hoarding macaroni
I couldn't help it; it ran in the family
My grandmother had more aprons than anyone else in town
My father was a saver of pretzels
My mother, a traditionalist, collected money

My therapist, also, was interested in money
I wondered if she, too, suffered from covetousness
Her rationalizations, I thought, were as twisted as pretzels
And my closet was now chock-full of macaroni
If anyone knew, I'd be the laughingstock of the town
And a disgrace to my family

Not that they were so perfect, this family
For one thing, my grandfather never had enough money
Yet he kept a country house as well as the one in town
A dangerous mix, extravagance and covetousness
I was at least inconspicuous with a closetful of macaroni
Even my father had a noticeable mold problem with his pretzels

Until he got rid of those big soft ones that weren't really pretzels
My therapist kept wanting me to talk about my family
But I insisted we keep to the subject, which was macaroni
Because I didn’t have an unlimited supply of money
And I was well aware of her tendency toward covetousness
As I was also aware that she was the only shrink in town

The trouble is, it's hard to keep secrets in a small town
The local bar kept asking to borrow some of my father's pretzels
There's a smallness that goes with a reputation of covetousness
I found I was actually becoming ashamed of my family
Even my mother, with her stocks of idle money
And by now my entire apartment was full of macaroni

So we had a big party and I cooked up all the macaroni
And my grandmother gave an apron to every woman in town
The bar bill made a big dent in my mother's money
That, and buying peanuts and hard boiled eggs to go with the pretzels
Now I feel a lot more comfortable about myself and my family
And my therapist has to find another pigeon to support her ovetousness

My vice was macaroni; my father's was pretzels
Everyone in town knew we were a mixed-up family
It shows that love of money isn't the only kind of covetousness

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