That recycled taste

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

Every wait server was proud to mention
all the conformity to the state’s low waste laws

The tables tops are ground glass art or Formica tops from an old diner
and our chairs were repurposed from a dentist franchise

We didn’t replace the worn out wood flooring
it is being used to fire the furnace to make electricity for our lights

But we don’t use the lights much during the day
while the curtains were bedspreads from a decommissioned cruise ship

Our menus are 90% recycled paper ’cause we save trees
plus we use real flatware so as not to have plastic in the trash

We support the local farms and the fish is caught fresh
as she brought me a tall glass of water on ice with a red straw

Impressive I remarked and ordered tacos de pescado Baja style
with corn and not flour tortillas and a side of Spanish rice

The smells from the kitchen did not remind me of home
thinking only of the heavy additions of vegetables in the diet here

The tacos had a spicy red salsa and the fish sat upon a heap
of cabbage, onion, tomato, cilantro  and avocado

Is everything okay she asked after I’d taken a few bites
I wonder could you tell me about the veggies and the fish

We shop from the locals who have organic farms
No chemical fertilizers and the fish are not farmed, they’re coastal

Large farms that don’t use chemical fertilizers often use biosolids
the over-euphemism for human excrement

Wasn’t there an issue with listeria contamination from the soil
of organic farmers and isn’t there chemical runoff from the bay into the Pacific

Not for our food she said with punctuated question mark
we wouldn’t do that because our food is healthy

I smiled and did what all cautious people do
smelled the food and wondered if my spidey olfactory sense was active

Though all I ordered had the aroma of food, there was no way of knowing
the real source of any of it when you have to serve 21 million people daily

The recycling programs made me think that I could compost
and start a backyard Victory Garden but without human contributions

There is something about having your own space
to grow your own greens that is so appealing

It still makes me shudder to think about eating west coast food
that somebody else has already eaten and is recycling it on your plate

Copyright © 1960-2016 Lawrence J. J. Leonard All rights reserved.

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