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Attack of the squash people
by
Marge Piercy


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And thus the people every year
in the valley of humid July
did sacrifice themselves
to the long green phallic god
and eat and eat and eat.
They’re coming, they’re on us,
the long striped gourds, the silky
babies, the hairy adolescents,
the lumpy vast adults
like the trunks of green elephants.
Recite fifty zucchini recipes!
Zucchini tempura; creamed soup;
sauté with olive oil and cumin,
tomatoes, onion; frittata;
casserole of lamb; baked
topped with cheese; marinated;
stuffed; stewed; driven
through the heart like a stake.
Get rid of old friends: they too
have gardens and full trunks.
Look for newcomers: befriend
them in the post office, unload
on them and run. Stop tourists
in the street. Take truckloads
to Boston. Give to your Red Cross.
Beg on the highway: please
take my zucchini, I have a crippled
mother at home with heartburn.
Sneak out before dawn to drop
them in other people’s gardens,
in baby buggies at church doors.
Shot, smuggling zucchini into
mailboxes, a federal offense.
With a suave reptilian glitter
you bask among your raspy
fronds sudden and huge as
alligators. You give and give
too much, like summer days
limp with heat, thunderstorms
bursting their bags on our heads,
as we salt and freeze and pickle
for the too little to come.

From Circles on the Water: Selected Poems of Marge Piercy (Alfred A. Knopf, Copyright 1982 ).
Used with the author’s permission.

 

Purchase a framed print of this poem.

 

 

Marge Piercy is the author of 17 novels, 18 books of poetry, a memoir, and a collection of short stories; her work has been translated into 19 different languages. Born in Detroit, Marge survived a difficult childhood and has been at the forefront of the feminist movement for most of her life. She writes with brutal honesty, a trait that has made her a popular speaker on college campuses. She has taught, lectured and/or performed her work at more than 450 venues around the world and conducts a juried intensive poetry workshop every June in  her hometown of Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Marge's poetry is often viciously funny, particularly when she takes on such topics as contemporary opinion and behavior. Visit her website at www.margepiercy.com.

 

 

 

 

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Post New Comment:
Dorcas:
I saw a zucchini that carried crosswise in one's arms she could not fit through the door. Squash people! Long green attitudes. An ode.
Posted 08/24/2014 03:15 PM
Gilbert Allen:
A compost heap could have changed this fine poem considerably! But then, think of what Verizon could have done for Romeo and Juliet.
Posted 08/24/2014 08:15 AM
Katrina:
This morning I misheard 'immortal' as 'in autumn'. Poetic irony abounds.
Posted 08/24/2014 07:57 AM
phebe.davidson@gmail.com:
Spot-on (well, of course, it's Piercy!
Posted 08/24/2014 06:29 AM
rhonasheridan:
Love sumptuous bowls of zucchini. Love the stripes and shades of Autumn in all squashes. I also love the poem! aiyo! What a problem!
Posted 08/24/2014 01:05 AM
LindaCrosfield:
"...please take my zucchini, I have a crippled mother at home with heartburn." Wonderful!
Posted 08/23/2014 11:20 PM


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