episode with a potato

Episode with a potato, by Eric Ormsby

I was skinning a potato when it said:
Please don’t gouge my one remaining eye!
My parer hesitated. The knob of the spud
comforted my hand-hold with its sly
ovoid, firm yet brittle as a fontanelle,
and I much enjoyed the way its cool lump
-all pulpy planes and facettings, with a starch
sheen that mildly slimed my fingers
(not to mention that tuberous smell
that lingers
like the shoulder of a clump
of creosote bushes or the violet mildew of an arch
no triumph still remembers)
- yes I like the way it occupied my pinch.

I understood at its tiny squeak
the power of pashas over the members
of their entourages. For a week,
whenever I passed, the potato would flinch.
Its one eye never slept.
I thought of the kingdoms it had crept
through under the ground, spud-
smug, amid the dust of the bones of shahs
and eunuchs, those generations of the Flood,
the Colossi and the Accursed,
the Great Hunger and the hegiras,
telemons and ostraca and worst,
immense anti-archives of dirt.

It hurt
me to do it but I scopped out its eye
an ate it and felt utterly triumphant: I
ingested all that a potato could personify.

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