Ghazal for Summer Squash by Hayden Saunier

Ghazal for Summer Squash

At the end of every farm lane, driveway, garden gate
is a basket, bag, or pilfered milk crate labeled “free,” filled with zucchini.

Loanwords are words adopted from one language and incorporated,
sans translation, into another: such as ghazal, stanza, sans, and yes, zucchini.

More potassium than a banana and packing only 25 calories makes
this charmer a nutritional powerhouse, says the PR lady for zucchini.

Julia Child served a dish called Tian de Courgettes au Riz,
composed of cheese, rice, too much work: it’s almost all zucchini.

The female flower forms a yellow trumpet; the male’s a thinner,
slightly duller bloom. Add a bee and presto! More zucchini.

One is a zucchina. But there’s never only one. A synonym
for surplus, surfeit, excess, glut, or way-too-much should be zucchini.

When possible, choose baby, small or barely medium, because
size matters when discussing gourds (and that goes double for zucchini.)

Shaved, dressed with garlic, panko, reindeer hearts or baco-bits,
then blackened, sauteed, pureed, whipped to foam: it’s still zucchini.

Praise song for gardens, blossom, vines, and plenty, I offer thanks
for frost and final stanzas, for an end to this zucchini of zucchini.


Hayden Saunier is the author of five books of poetry; her most recent is A Cartography of Home (Terrapin: 2021). Her work has been published in 32 Poems, Beloit Poetry Journal, Bracken, Pedestal, Thrush, and Virginia Quarterly Review, featured on The Writers Almanac, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and has been awarded the Pablo Neruda Prize and the Rattle Poetry Prize, among others. She is the founder/director of the interactive poetry reading, No River Twice. @Hayden_Saunier

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