Day One: Marilyn Nielson
“But as good as the price-per-ounce may be, you just don’t need that much mayonnaise.”
—CBS MoneyWatch, “5 Things You Should Buy At Costco”
It is tempting to begin aggressively,
To ask what you—with your elevators and your “buzzing-in,”
Your taxis and your tiny, drooping houseplants,
Your Holiday Parties, and your solitary coffee breaks—
Know of shouting, giggling masses of children
Bursting like not-quite-sentient maggots
From the secondhand, mortifying Station Wagon.
But that would limit the scope of this argument,
Which, I admit, began relatively blandly—
With mayonnaise, to be precise,
Which is a sort of metaphor for blandness—
But which will flourish in the potato salad of my indignation
Until it is perfectly seasoned, surprising, and delicious.
And so I will say instead, that you must have been kept
All your life beneath the veil of city lights,
Unlike Wordsworth and yes, me; we who love stars,
And are Habituated to the Vast.
You must have never known contented crowdedness,
Two-to-a-bed, whispers and tangled feet,
Enough space in your eyes to hold the desert sunlight,
Elbowing its way over the mountains at dawn
And blazing up like brushfire in the evenings.
And so it is unreasonable to expect you,
Your compact refrigerator and your collapsible umbrella,
To conceive abundance. Oh, but do not think it is not real,
Though perhaps you have not met it in your dim-lit halls.
I find it daily, sifting down into my 50-pound bags of flour,
Nesting contentedly in my gargantuan cartons of eggs.
Here, it falls down on us like stardust.
My children run laughing through its showers.
We shake it, shining, from our hair.
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Marilyn Nielson‘s writing has been published in Inscape, BYU Studies, and the new anthology of Mormon Poets, Fire in the Pasture. She graduated from BYU as a Hinckley Scholar, with degrees in Music and Home Economics and an English minor. She lives in Utah with her husband and five children.
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