O vegetables in lapis bowl
so finely clothed in dinner dress
of seasoned oil, your crispy lobes
of green and gold suggest refrains
though still you seem too shy to speak.
I’ll give you voices: purple onion,
take this sax – its burred long
tones bring edge to match your bite;
carrots -- the sunset glow of cello
notes, plaited in warm
continuo. Cucumbral shade,
bright radish too, can have your say
with silver flutes whose light glissades
will punctuate the cool tossed mix.
Though fennel needs a subtler touch:
smoky and feathered at the top
descending through pearl mottled stalks
to sweet elusive anise crunch –
only massed French horns will do.
Roast beets take on vermilion tones
from oven heat, perhaps from growth
in loam -- wood xylophones
perhaps, or bongos syncopated
with a lagging salsa beat.
In salad can be found
a world: rhythms of root and bulb
and leaf, embraided in a single line,
preserved pre-glacial forage times.
That score has faded, yet a fragment
of its tune remains. From corners
of the room Neanderthals peer out,
while I, unheeding, dine.
Version first published in Falcons: New and Selected Poems by Michael H. Levin (Finishing Line Press, 2020)