Friday, April 3, 2009

The Problem With Chickpeas

I wrote this one for the Writer's Digest challenge (prompt: "The Problem With..."), but also for my friend Joyce, a medieval scholar, lover of Rumi, and all-around great gal.

The Problem With Chickpeas
for Joyce Lionarons

The problem with chickpeas isn’t
their mutability. Waxy-hard faces turn
soft in the rising embrace
of bubbles. They will give themselves
for hummus, lay down their lives
to save a sentient protein. They have

many names: garbanzo, cicer, Indian pea,
chana, sanaga pappu. They were prayer beads
for Rumi, though their name to him
is hidden in thick pages. Small imperfect
spheres, collapsing planets, transformative
clay: their problem is not the ways

they change. It is that they are
humble flesh, cheap in the can, and we cooks
expect so much from them.

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