After Callimachus

Stephanie Burt

(Hecale, 248)

I wish you wouldn’t yell at me for trying.
            Brown olives should be picked before they are ripe;
pale olives are good for lamb stew, but must be pitted,
                        then stored in brine.
People are different, too; when the bitter
            black olive, determined to keep
                        its shape, insists
it shouldn’t be crushed with the green ones,
            good cooks know it isn’t malingering, or lying.

Stephanie Burt is author, among other collections, of Belmont: Poems, and of The Poem Is You: 60 Contemporary American Poems and How to Read Them. She is professor of English at Harvard University.
Originally published:
April 1, 2020

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