I save the two oatmeal
poems to read at breakfast
out loud while we are eating
our oatmeal
But in the morning we have
polenta instead
with warmed maple syrup
an intention I had set
in motion while cooking
dinner putting one-half
the polenta aside
adding a pat of soy margarine
and a bit of Parmesan to the rest
That was before I came across the oatmeal
I often do this, work cross
purposes with myself
in both large and small ways
this morning I stumble
across the oatmeal poems

there’s always the debate
about the leftover maple
syrup which has been warmed.
I always feel it should not be
reentered with the full jug
but lack scientific evidence
as always that this is the case.
I pour the dregs of syrup
from the stainless pitcher
into the plastic honey jar
I have just washed.

It was the cookbook’s suggestion,
of course, – the maple syrup
I realize too late
I would have preferred honey
(But I eat honey all the time)
frankly I’ve begun to worry
about the lack of dietary variety
I eat oatmeal almost
every day too.
When I rumble out
to the kitchen in the m morning
it seems a warm and cozy
thing to do
the natural transition
between the warmth of slumber
and the day I have not yet done

some mornings I cook it with bananas
other times with raisins
almost always with cinnamon
sometimes it gets applesauce
after it is cooked
every now and then
a nib of plain yogurt
I like coconut sprinkled
on top
what I call my kitchen sink
oatmeal, everything in it

Rice is nice
but not first thing
no other grain
does the same
eggs rarely enter
into the decision
wheat free gluten free pancakes
only now and then

that’s how I got in
in this oatmeal rut
winter comes, fruit fails
I turn to oatmeal
and not a rut at that
except I worry
because I read somewhere
you’re only supposed
to eat a food every 4 days

After breakfast
I find the paper
in the living room
spread open to the poems
I haven’t read them yet
because I haven’t had
my oatmeal.

The second day I am
the paper with the poems
folded open on the table
where we eat oatmeal
my mind doubly made up
twice reminded

This morning I stir blueberry
applesauce and honey
into the oatmeal
And begin reading the poems
to lure him to breakfast when he ignores my call
In between poems I tell him
I won’t read my own oatmeal
poem yet, that it isn’t finished
(having told h h while still
in bed that my poems
seem to want to be essays.)
When I get to Keats in the
second poem he begins
to get interested
But what strikes me is
that clearly these men
do not know how to prepare
oatmeal, I can tell
from their adjectives
they are cooking the oatmeal
our mothers made
the oatmeal which made us all
dread oatmeal
gave oatmeal a reputation
it has yet to live down
Galway, I believe you
are buying Quakers
overly-messed-with oats
and not the organic kind
sold bulk, which allows you
to scoop your oats into your
own bag, a brown paper #
with the bin # – 241
scrawled on the side
used and used and used
so that the check paid me
the high compliment
“Wow, good re-using.”

Perhaps I should give
an oat seminar
and share the secrets of
my kitchen sink oats
talk about rolled
vs. steel cut
the history of oats
as a nerve tonic
the medicinal properties
of oat straw tea

I like to think of Keats
being inspired to write
by oats
I like to remember
walking across the mowed field
I daily walk
my friend picking a handful
of drying straw and saying it was wild oats
I like to recall the tingle
I felt as I do when
living a word.
Oat. Straw.
It spoke itself silently
to me , as I realized
that what was at home
tucked tightly in my jar
was here
Wild –
a whole field of it.