Guest Poet: Judith Shepard

茨城県産人参 Carrot 胡蘿蔔 by DigiPub




The cheesecake is winning.

The Queen’s Fancy

stainless steel iced tea spoon in my hand

is raised ready for a furtive dive into the refrigerator on

commercial breaks, or after the kids are in bed.

I try to convince myself that cheesecake is the cure.

And the 4 part Cheesecake Factory sampler

from Sam’s Club beckons.




I was on my fourth small bowl

of stew

with soy sauce,

I had bitten crosswise into my overly tender carrot and looked down.

The pressure of my teeth

had opened the spaces to reveal

a perfect flower pattern,

inner core and outer petals

used as a design of strength

inside and outside

so many growing things.

I had seen the flower

in an apple, a banana,

an orange, but never

in a carrot.

Perfect order,

grown day by day,

moment by moment

in the dirt, a pattern

put there purely

for the pleasure

of my eye on a

cold rainy

September afternoon.

A reminder,

between bites, of taking

pleasure in creating


in the little things

that give




I’ll never forget that hand-span wide ½ inch cookie from the Co-op downtown.  The mouth watering as it is handed over the counter, heavy in waxed paper, nose tingling in anticipation of the First Bite through crusted rolled sugar, through crisp outer layer to chewy innerness, the ginger spice studded with diced crystallized root.

Biting and savoring expecting and fearful of the last swallow, the last crumb the last licked fingertip.  Always in the back of my mind looking forward to the next excuse to drive there.

Until one day I find they no longer sell them.  The people who made them, sold to the co- op, no longer make them either and they have nothing near to it or similar.  Will my life always be in search of experiences like this perfect cookie, this hunger rumbling watering yearning to make this sensation an again experienced reality?


Judith Shepard is a wife, mother and poet who lives in Sacramento, California

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