November 7, 2014 | ,

A History of Meatloaf, Circa 1807

Photo Credit: Raw Meat by Conan

A soldier on leave from the Garguantuan
War, Maggie’s husband whistled the path
home at the thought of her vegetable stew.

Maggie would have beamed for his arrival
had she not been forced to squeeze between
enormous ankles, duck under a nose

holding coats, to greet him. He dragged her
out to display his bounty: a giant’s thumb
complete with dreadful thumbnail.

But where to put it? A taxidermist by trade,
money was tight. He couldn’t afford
a shed to hold the parts, though he had

nearly stuffed an entire giant in pieces,
all of them strewn about the house. Maggie
felt so small next to the behemoths

burying her in her home & did her best
to adjust by crafting things of use: a stuffed
toe served as ottoman, her cutting board,

a tooth. When hubby slept, she would
set to work. The nail, precarious in a cart,
missed the hung wash by just that much.

She buried what she could, but was running
out of backyard. She fancied herself gardener,
a grower of grim. A moldy tongue poked

through dirt as if to mock her. Nightmares
plagued Maggie—parts assembled, shambled,
an eyeball waddled on earlobe legs to finish

her. But not this night. She spent the moon
snapping beans for his stew and wished
for the days when a cow could be traded

for a need, but there were no cows now,
no meat. Swimming in endless snap beans
that sprung from giants’ toes in the garden,

she wanted a home she fit in, one she
could share with a man and not a thumb.
But the stuffing brought hubby such joy,

she never said a word. She loved him so,
plucking beans while he caught giants
from the pillows. He loved his killing axe,

kept it tucked at the bedside. Why take it
away? A thought hit home: if only the beans
would stop growing, she could end

the business of stew. Maggie stood then,
and a great height filled her. Hubby’s tastes
could change—he was a flexible man.

She exchanged shovel for butcher’s knife,
grinning. Their mouths would be tombs.
Maggie would make better use of the meat.

See Brian Morrison’s Bio

See more poems by Brian Morrison