Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Potatoes

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Jay Davis of Portland writes of today’s verse that his mother grew up in Aroostook County, the source of Maine potatoes, adding that his lineage goes back to Scotch-Irish immigrants. These facts may help to explain his typically offbeat poem, which honors potatoes and immigrants at the same time.

Potatoes by Jay Davis

A family of potatoes lives under my sink.
They huddle there like wretched immigrants
in the hold of my kitchen, eyeing anyone
who peers down there with suspicion.
Despite the language barrier, they persist.
The more industrious put down roots.
They wear the same brown shabby coats
they brought from the old country,
though one or two are wrinkled now
from sleeping in them every night.
When the cupboard door is closed
I sense them in there, huddling closer,
muttering in their dark dialect, comforting
one another, whispering their dreams.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2004 by Jay Davis. Reprinted from Whispers, Cries, and Tantrums, Moon Pie Press, 2004, by permission of Jay Davis. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to David Turner, Special Assistant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at poetlaureate@mainewriters.org or 207-228-8263.