Lucas Hunt

You may wonder why we are here to remember,

Gathered round to watch the pallets burn,

           men just off work

Drinking beer in plastic lawn chairs,

           on a boat at sea.

There’s a distant dog bark as Murphy explains

           how the butcher cut the meat

Thick and true, pound for pound

This is some prime beef—

We are men and will eat like men.

But before the potatoes are sliced and seasoned

           then fried to perfection,

Before lettuce, mushrooms, tomato, peppers

           get chopped together,

Before shrimp cocktail with horseradish sauce

           and hot garlic bread,

Before the cork finally pops,

Games commence; horseshoes and darts

           with a simple system of bets

As classic rock blasts from a van in the drive,

Music purely for the pursuit of freedom,

           songs of love that is new

While the sunset glows amid leafless trees.

     I love fishermen and electricians

          who bring fresh catch to friends

     and string the yard with lights

          so the games can go all night.

There have been big parties here,

The police were called but nobody got hurt,

Now the fire is ten feet high, summer seems far away

And aromas of dinner drift out the kitchen.

One at a time we head inside to wash our hands

           and crack new beers,

To clear, wipe, then set the table

With bowls of rice pilaf, creamed spinach,

Sautéed onions and more food amid empty plates.

Finally, with a slight hint of ceremony,

The large glass platter of steaming steaks arrives

           fresh from the grill,

All medium rare and sizzling,

Mel forks one out to each of us then sits down,

No one says the grace yet the cost of life

           has been implied—

We are men and will eat like men.

Lucas Hunt was born in rural Iowa. His debut collection of poetry, Lives, was published to critical acclaim in 2006. His poems have appeared in many literary reviews, including The Southampton Review, Slice, Confrontation, and Proteus. Hunt studied at the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, and in the MFA program at Southampton College. He is the recipient of a John Steinbeck Award for poetry. He lives in East Hampton, NY, where he works at a literary agency. His new collection, Light on the Concrete, is available now from The North Sea Press; see

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