Meg Day is the 2015-2016 recipient of the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, a 2013 recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, and the author of Last Psalm at Sea Level (Barrow Street 2014). Day teaches at Franklin & Marshall College and lives in Lancaster, PA.
Here, she talks about the importance of a shared table, distaste for condiments, and a final moment in lieu of a final meal.
On her all-time favorite meal:
I’m maybe a little surprised by this answer, but I think it’s Seder? Lynda Barry does this exercise sometimes in her workshops where she starts by asking you to list the first ten tables that come to mind—kitchen tables, dining tables, coffee tables, operating tables, periodic tables, whatever. They can be object- or space-specific, they can be event-specific. Most of my tables are Seder tables; I think the table is the place I first came to really understand family & how I continue to understand home. It’s the hub of kin, the meet-up point for scheming, the physical representation of my own work ethic. I like a good table & I like the feeling of folks gathered around it; it’s the only kind of crowd I prefer. Passover has got its own narrative—& I’m about it, very deeply about it—but it’s also a meal like a beacon or a birthday, a meal that creates for me a personal lineage I can trace, too. A few that glow for me: Passover with my late goddaughter Samyah in the Richmond district of San Francisco; Seder at a table packed with lesbian rabbis in San Diego; queer Haggadah in Oakland with heartkin & collards & matzo ball soup out of mason jars; the most tender & grand of Seders at poet Jackie Osherow’s in Salt Lake City (which included ASL!) during what would become one of the sweetest years of my life; & this last year, a very lonely Passover in Sliema, Malta which only emphasized the richness & generosity of a table when it’s shared proper.
On what the light looks like during her favorite meal of the day:
Coffee is my favorite meal of the day. I don’t know when that became true, but there it is. I like it early & outside or near a window when the sky is still fresh & not yet interrupted by traffic or email or even tender salutations. I don’t mind what the light is doing in the morning so long as I can see the sky.
On snacking while writing:
I’ve got a sweet tooth (or a whole face of them) that won’t quit.
On her go-to late-night snack:
A whopping bowl of Raisin Bran Crunch. I’m not really about cereal in general—it is by far the biggest embarrassment to an otherwise phenomenal family of brekkie foods—but after midnight, there’s nothing I like better than RBC.
On her food quirks:
You just rarely know what [your quirks] are until somebody’s joshin you for it. I don’t like condiments, just at all, especially the old standards like ketchup or mustard or mayo or, I don’t know, salad dressing. (Oh, but hot sauce? I’ll put hot sauce on anything.) I’m also about the fruits & veggies as they arrive: I prefer raw to cooked, unripe to overripe. I eat the strawberry tops, don’t have trouble with the taste of rinds or skins or peels. It’s funny how habits around food are pretty tied up in class & geographic region, no?
On her final meal request:
I’ve thought a lot about this. It’s less a meal & more a moment or series of moments after a meal. We used to have pretty epic cookouts at the House on Harvard in Salt Lake, & in this dream I’m done with the grill & drinking Bulldog Root Beer on the front stoop with my dog, Maya. Everybody’s out back or inside—& I mean everybody: favorites & queerkin & brothers & poets & sponsors & kiddos & true blue professors & students-gone-pals & sweethearts & partners—all of us already full of barbequed sweet corn & drunk on late August heat. But that’s it, I think. Just a full house behind me & a cold Bulldog alone on the porch with my dog. Then I think I’d be ready to go.