by Anne Caston 

              Madison, Wisconsin, 1996

Here is a genial congregation,
well fed and rosy with health and appetite,
robust children in tow. They have come
and all the generations of them, to be fed,
their old ones too who are eligible now
for a small discount, having lived to a ripe age.
Over the heaped and steaming plates, one by one,
heads bow, eyes close; the blessings are said.

Here there is good will; here peace
on earth, among the leafy greens, among the fruits
of the gardens of America’s heartland. Here is abundance,
here is the promised
land of milk and honey, out of which
a flank of the fatted calf, thick still
on its socket and bone, rises like a benediction
over the loaves of bread and the little fishes, belly-up in butter.

SOURCE: “Sunday Brunch at the Old Country Buffet” appears in Anne Caston’s collection Flying Out with the Wounded (New York University Press, 1997), available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anne Caston is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing/Poetry and a teacher in the Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She is the author of  Flying Out With The Wounded (New York University Press, 1997) and Judah’s Lion (Toad Hall Press, 2009, second edition). Her third collection, Prodigal, is forthcoming early in 2014 from Aldrich Press. Caston’s writing often pulls from her experiences as a former nurse, as a mother of four, and as a Southern woman raised among Southern Baptists. She’s currently working on a memoir entitled Deep Dixie: A Southerner’s Take On Life, Romance, Faith, Friendship, Family, And Coming-of-Age Among Southern Baptists.