the funeral pyre.

by Samantha Guss


emptying another container

of rotten strawberries into the trashcan

i think that were i to rescue every rotten strawberry

that my family no longer saw fit to eat

then i would have enough strawberries

to festoon the buttercream crowns

of a thousand birthday cakes,

or enough strawberries to feed one strawberry

to every person who had previously never eaten a strawberry.


enough strawberries to dye the oceans red

for a week.


(still, which is the greater crime:

an ocean full of dead fish,

or a trashcan full of wasted strawberries?)

and i recognize that at this exact moment

i do not have the perspective to provide

a reasonable answer to this question.


so with the ritual discarding

of yet another box

of nearly ten perfectly good strawberries

(hapless bedfellows of the one moldy leper),

i say a silent prayer

that these strawberries find a hungry raccoon

somewhere down the line

and that all future strawberries

be saved.


but these strawberries,

the ones that i am throwing out,

are being offered as an oblation

to whatever tolerant god

humors such excesses.

Samantha Guss is a junior American Studies and Drama double major at Vassar College with an interest in poetry, breakfast food, and taking walks. She often eats a muffin before taking a long walk, during which she thinks about things that she might like to write poems about. She hates citrus fruit. She flosses regularly. She is a Pisces, and a morning person. When she eats animal crackers she takes two of each, to fill her ark. She goes to Whole Foods to steal the free guacamole samples and then immediately leaves. She would like to be a writer or a pirate, but will likely go into marketing or farming instead.