Autumn Cannibalism

(after the painting by Salvador Dalí, 1936)

by Neil Ellman

When there is nothing left to eat
But your own conscience
(A delicacy of a kind)
Etiquette requires
That the women choose first
That the proper utensils be used
Spoon fork and carving knife
A napkin on the lap
To ensure civility.
It is a simple repast:
A stew of half-eaten body parts
A mélange of squabbles and feuds
Centuries old
(Too ancient to remember why)
Coming to this November meal.
“The thigh is best,” says one,
“Especially rare
Full of flavor and revenge.”
It is best in the autumn
When we feast
On the remains of dignity.