The Dream of Quoting Wendell Berry at the Rotary Club Meeting

During her speech, the nutritionist had said
we can only begin with where we are
speaking of a gradual reduction of fried chicken in our diet

When question time came I rose and asked:
Were you consciously evoking Wendell Berry’s
line we can only begin with what has happened

As she nervously nodded I expressed relief:
because the whole time you’ve been talking
I’ve been thinking about those rural deaths, those
chest clutching spasms leading to a Country Funeral –
here I paused for recognition which didn’t come

I forged on heedless thinking some part of that group
that part which was raised on a farm
or at least visited their grandparents there
might recognize a line from a man
who looks so much like one of them
thinking perhaps at least that number would see
that I was trying to bridge a gap
between her expert solemnity
and the extremity they have come to

Our president stood, and pressed a cube
of Rotary notepad paper on our guest
a token of our appreciation
I sat down, applauding with the others

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