Rona piles rice from path to porch
like snowdrifts sprinkled with
crayon colored carrots, peas, corn–
until the guardrail disappears
under an ever-growing mountain
of cooked rice.
I steal furtive glances
at my neighbor’s driveway
now covered with sticky grains
at first cooked, now a raw storm of bone dry bits.
Rona keeps scooping, dumping
until everything is buried in white,
white on rice, rice on white,
like her platinum hair,
her compulsive arrogance,
her steely lack of compassion,
her dead eyes, and smirking lips
married to our suffering
God help us, we are drowning!
but I know there is no god to save us.
Rona mutes their screams with a glance,
seals their fate with a scoop.:
A ringing phone,
A wrong number
A woman’s frantic screams,
I’m not a doctor, I say
I’m scared, she says
Go to the hospital, keep trying,
Don’t give up, I say, distracted by
the shifting shush of grains slipping,
the incessant gathering, pouring.
to what isn’t said,
hears what she wants while
I can no longer see my now-buried street,
the pavement alive with rice flowing
under foot, under tires
sidewalks awash in sustenance wasted,
There is too much to count:
too many cups, too many pounds.
I think of John Steinbeck
of fruit rotting on trees
of food wasted and people starving
of able-bodied people begging for work,
of grains of rice piling, piling
as Rona buries us all.
Rebecca M. Ross is a writer, educator, and avid hiker and backpacker currently living in New York’s Hudson Valley. Her writing has been published in Streetcake Magazine, Whimsical Poet, The Westchester Review, Soul-Lit, and Peeking Cat. She also has poetry forthcoming or published in Uppagus. Rebecca often longs for her ancestral homeland of Brooklyn where her weirdness blends in better. Her favorite bands are Phish and Ween.