Petit Choux

by Alison Armstrong-Webber
The Waters
Honorable Mention, February 2014
Judged by Robert Lee Brewer

I am, as you are,
fifty-seven parts cabbage,
a minority my rebel self.
The clamour
in the potting shed!
A muscle in the seed
packets. Only a cold snap,

or word of a Great Pumpkin,
and my aspirations are stirred
since i am, as you are
fully three quarters pumpkin.
A fascination with carriages

is in the genes. And staying
up very late, and shoes–
or is that the owlet in me?
Why have I made of myself
so much vegetable, and
neglected the rest of Kind?

It’s true, for four years I wore
platforms that crossed tongues
of mouse-ear suede with mica
and a rare species of ostrich-
ocelot, (with a gummed raft since
I am in everything,
it would appear), yet ignored
an obvious tapir stripe.

What about the ant-eater?
Not to neglect the ant-lion
nor the Hercules horned beetle,
much admired, yet little loved
whose distant, diminutive cousin
my son delivered to me

when he plunged his hands
into Pink’s Lake, and brought out
a prize for the scarcophagus.

Glorious pumpkin-seed of a bronze
beetle — still resting, in a velvet black
ring box, among my greatest
treasures. Mine. That is, perhaps
a 78th part me, considering
the pumpkin, and all the rest.

And you? I’d venture there’s
a two-forked fir between us,
like the one lying out by the curb,
but so much simpler;
a lady-slipper, glassy in sharp rain,
or a brandy snifter
terrarium sundew,

showing the whole of Mer Bleu bog
its tender red, quilled tongue.
Its droplets of herculean dew.
But wrapped in the hands
of a watcher. A seer.
A petit choux.

A clever little poem playing on the double meaning of the French title--a little cabbage, or a term of endearment. Before looking up the meaning of 'Petit Choux,' I was already interested in the vegetable, animal, and insect phrases. Plus, I admit it: I love Peanuts comics and a mention of a 'Great Pumpkin' won't slip by unnoticed. This is a poem that provides even more pleasure when read aloud. --Robert Lee Brewer