by Jessica de Koninck

This noon I give thanks for fried fish
for macaroni and cheese
for dill rolls
for sweet potato pie
for this carbohydrate festival
the hair-netted ladies cooked
to get me through the afternoon
and get me home safely.  I give thanks
for the cafeteria line
for steam rising off my plate
for the dishwasher smell
for the walk from my desk
across the parking lot
to the commissary
and back to my desk.
So thanks
for carrots and peas, for flaky crust
rolled by hand, for small talk
for clean trays, for breaking
a twenty, for showing up.


Jessica de Koninck is the author of one chapbook, Repairs,
published by Finishing Line Press.  Her poems have appeared in the
Valparaiso Poetry Review, the Paterson Literary Review, Poetry
, Bridges, and The Ledge, as well as in anthologies such as
The Widows Handbook.  She holds an M.F.A. from Stonecoast and
is a former attorney who continues to do work in education policy.

On “Comfort Food”:
For a time I worked as in-house counsel to a large urban school
district where the efforts of many dedicated people who worked
hard each day, like the women in this poem, went largely
unrecognized.  The literal and figurative sustenance they provided
often enabled my day to go from awful to tolerable or from
tolerable to bright.  It is no small feat to make a central kitchen
and cafeteria feel nurturing, appealing, and safe.  Yet we poets
sometimes treat poems of praise as suspect or not worthy of
serious consideration.  Praise permits us to recognize things
outside ourselves such as the efforts of others.  Praise offers an
antidote to distance.  I chose to use litany as a framework for the
poem to echo the language of prayer and as a way for weight to
accrue with each additional example.   

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 10, Number 1
(Spring 2015)

Copyright © 2015
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.