I’m retired from my work as a microbiologist and later as a psychotherapist. I love the freedom to do as I please, to create handmade one-of-a-kind cards or sew quilts, or work on poetry, dipping in and out of it like a tern running along the shore. By reading and writing poetry, I come to terms with my obsessions. www.JoanMazza.com
Dinner Party Invitation
Ages since I’ve made an Italian feast for friends,
served on Noritaki china and sterling silver,
I plan to use the hand-embroidered tablecloth
and napkins my mother took a year to make.
On fancy paper, the menu: old-fashioned minestrone
with tiny meatballs, lasagna with three cheeses
and pork sausage, breaded and baked loin veal chops,
colorful salad with roasted red peppers, pine nuts,
and marinated mushrooms, stuffed artichokes,
steamed broccoli rabe with slivers of garlic.
Homemade pecan cheesecake for dessert. Choice
of coffee and teas. Nuts to be cracked from shells
during after-dinner conversation.
Days of phone calls and email until we agree
on a Sunday. Though I fear it’s a mistake,
I ask about dietary restrictions or preferences,
receive their lists and try to re-juggle the menu.
Sue is now gluten- and dairy-free. Sandy, too,
but her celiac means no wheat, rye, or barley.
Tom asks for low-cholesterol— no eggs, red meat,
shellfish or soft cheese. Daniel’s allergic to eggs,
onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Della’s vegetarian;
MaryAnn won’t eat anything green.
No nightshades! No alcohol! two write in their P.S.
Others decline a week later. They’re on Atkins
or The Paleo Diet, or strictly raw food. Another
never mixes carbs and proteins. They all refuse
sugar, except for Nick, who’ll drive from Brooklyn.
“I’m Italian! I eat everything!” He’ll bring the wine
and the best olive oil for the salad. I don’t tell him
I quit booze, will make dinner for the two of us.
Everyone else gets a glitter-free handmade card,
vitamin pill, and Splenda packet. No raincheck.
© 2017 Joan Mazza
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