The Edible Play – Bryant O’Hara

Bryant O’Hara

I know where my food comes from —
I can trace its components
back to the amino acids,
to the make
and the model
and the manufacturer,
back to the creators and the contributors —
and I can reference every license,
both open and closed.

I know where my food comes from —
because it tells me.

But I must call it first …

So I summon up a plate of shrimp and grits.

A plate,
utensils,
empty glass,
napkin,
and finally the shrimp and grits
rise up from the table to meet me.

Only the beer is separate — it is the libation.

There is an opening ,
and the shrimp and grits form themselves
into caricatures of a crustacean and a hominy stalk.

They sing in unison —
there is only one brain between them.

They sing to me,
chat with me,
show me footage of their construction,
the vision statements,
the criticisms of past iterations.

(And they do a little dance
within the boundaries of the plate.)

The meal lays this before me
so that I would know their lives —
short by the scheme of things,
but full of so much meaning.

“Do not forget us,” they chant.
“We will soon become a part of you.”

“Do not forget us.
Remember the parts
we play
in your existence.”

This they lay before me
as they deconstruct
into my plate
of shrimp and grits.

I pull up the README file.

“Existentialist Evangelizer” is the name of the software.
I roll the words and the worldview around my mouth
like a finely crafted beer.

I hope the engineered meat is as succulent as I pray:

“Thank you, Dearest Dinner,
for the thoughts shared with your consumer.”

“Welcome, Food.
Welcome to my table.”

“And we thank you,” say the shrimp and grits.

“May I partake of you?”

“Yes. Enjoy.”

I leave nothing on the plate —
that is the contract.

That is the required amount of reverence.

Copyright © 2015

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