charcuterie 1
What We Bought at the Market
by Ralph Earle

on the old deck
by the old docks
at a weather-worn table
together after eighteen months
we raise a glass
to this meal from the old market
wild and bitter watercress
rich flesh of tomatoes
honest and humble
air-dried sausage
bakery baguette
Bretonne butter
soft-hearted Neufchâtel’s aroma
rising from a crumbling mantle
Camembert almost urbane
chèvre bleu with a bouquet
of sourness and warm chalk
strawberries unexpectedly
recalling the wild
ones I ate as a child
and red wine
arrived from the south
raised to the reunion
the sunshine the sea air

IMAGE: Charcuterie board by kgbranch, poster available at REDBUBBLE.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I recently visited my son and his family in France, I was overwhelmed at the quantity and quality of food sold at the Saturday open-air market. I was spending the month writing a new poem every morning in a variety of different forms, so the following day yielded this ode to the previous evening’s dinner, maintaining a focus on the tangible qualities of the food itself, while capturing the festive tone of our post-Covid (or intra-Covid) reunion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ralph Earle lives near Raleigh, North Carolina, where he designs websites for poets and other creative people. He holds a Ph.D. in English from UNC-Chapel Hill, where he taught poetry before working in the high-tech industry. His collection The Way the Rain Works won the 2015 Sable Books Chapbook Award. Recent poems have appeared in Indelible, Tar River Poetry, Triggerfish Critical Review, and Sufi Journal.