Kate Marshall Flaherty

Harvest Table

This sticky farm oilcloth 
hosts jams and pickles, 
scatterings of dill seeds 
a utensil bouquet in the pottery jug—

There are so many 
scattered scraps 
crap and clutter, as mom would say,
on our harvest table 
there is really no room 
to eat. But this Christmas, 
grief fills us, gluttonous—

some of the time, its grounds 
left soggy in our cups, 
its wine rings staining the tablecloth, 
its lamb-fat marbled 
and congealing in the cold. 

Other times, it swells 
in our bellies with
cinnamon bun memories
still sticky-warm—
here she perched with the birds,
here she laughed at the larks,
here she asked us 
to listen better, nodding solemnly
like the glass bird dipping in water.

Sometimes grief makes us too full 
to eat, yet always hungry 
for something 
no more 
room for at the table.


Kate Marshall Flaherty, wearing glasses and her hair pulled back, smiles widely and holds her Award of Awesomeness prize, a tiny vase.

Kate Marshall Flaherty latest book is Digging (Aeolus House, 2022), and she has poems published in numerous Canadian and international journals, such as CV2, Vallum, Grain, Room, Trinity Review, The Literary Review of Canada and American Academy of Poets. She writes spontaneous “Poems Of the Extraordinary Moment” (P.O.E.M.s) for charity in person and online, and guides StillPoint Writing and Poetry Editing Circles online. See her performance poetry online at: katemarshallflaherty.ca. [provided in 2022]

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