Cate Marvin
You May Eat

I’m leaving a set of vintage flatware in my shopping basket

in the event no one else buys it and should I come by a windfall

I can swoop back in and purchase it, and complete myself:


We always had perfectly matching flatware in the house

in which I grew up, even, I think to introduce an errant fork

would have been blasphemous; in fact, I don’t think I could


have birthed the idea myself; I have only, later in life, come

upon the idea by happenstance, because of the jumble that is

the drawer of cutlery, merged sets between two households:


with five people at the table, you give up on coordinating. My

father always sat at the head of the table, my mother and I

at his either side, and though he did not cook he evaluated


the food as if he were some kind of expert chef. Once we had

our napkins on our laps and had sat together in appreciative

silence, we waited for him to allow us to move forward and help


ourselves to a serving. Wait, I’m remembering it wrong. We

never served ourselves. He served us. And once he’d doled out

our portions, he’d say in mock solemnity, You may eat. The set


I want most isn’t that fancy; it’s the plainness I covet, that mid-

century look that would have never jived with my parents’

baroque sideboard. I’d also prefer a minimalist headstone.



Found In Volume 50, No. 04
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  • Cate Marvin
Cate Marvin
About the Author
Cate Marvin is the author of four books of poetry, including Oracle (W.W. Norton, 2015). Her newest book, Event Horizon, is forthcoming in 2022.