ATTACK OF THE SQUASH PEOPLE
~ by Marge Piercy
And thus the people every year
in the valleys of humid July
did sacrifice themselves
to the long green phallic god
and eat and eat and eat.
They’re coming on, they’re on us,
the long striped gourds, the silky
babies, the hairy adolescents,
the lumpy vast adults
like the trunks of green elephants.
Recite fifty zucchini recipes!
Zucchini tempura. Creamed soup.
Saute with olive oil and cumin,
tomatoes, onion. Frittata.
Casserole of lamb. Baked
topped with cheese. Marinated,
stuffed, stewed, driven
through the heart like a stake.
Get tired of old friends. They too
have gardens and full trunks.
Look for newcomers, befriend them
in the post office, unload
on them and run. Stop tourists
in the street. Take truckloads
to Boston. Give to your Red Cross.
Beg on the highways. Please
take my zucchini, I have a crippled
mother at home with heartburn.
Sneak out before dawn, to drop
them in other people’s gardens,
in baby buggies at churchdoors.
Shot, smuggling zucchini into
mailboxes, a federal offense.
With a suave reptilian glitter
you bask among your raspy
fronds sudden and huge as
alligators. You give and give
too much, like summer days
limp with heat, thunderstorms
bursting their bags on our heads,
as we salt and freeze and pickle
for the too little to come.
Where Marge Piercy works at her writing in Wellfleet– also at cultivating her zukes, cukes, eggplant, summer squash, et al– you’ll find there’s a general store and post office right on the main road going through her Cape Cod town.
If you stop there on vacation to buy beer, be sure to keep your car windows rolled-up, never mind the summer heat. Ms. Piercy, one of the maniacal Squash People, may be impelled to unload her unmanageable bounty onto your passenger seat by the bagful. She is a desperate individual. Her car trunk is full of squash in shopping bags. Run for your lives! You could get….squashed.
When she refers, in a macabre fashion, to her zukes being “driven through the heart like a stake,” she is grilling them on skewers, I believe, along with peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, dripping with blood-red marinade. She is an awfully frightening vegetarian, I think. She will insist you must learn to make ratatouille, as she is a fanatic who will stop at nothing. She will even apply to do newspaper delivery, so she might leave zucchinis on doorsteps with the news.
And what do the Squash People do during the blustery and icy Cape winters? As Marge Piercy indicates in another poem, she naps and dreams, blanketed by seed catalogues and order forms. Then she goes wild and orders too much!