Patricia O’Neil


10:00 pm Friday in the Produce Section

You have to feel sorry for parsnips,
anemic, misshapen, and grim.
I bet that they envy the carrots,
so slender and orange and trim.

You never hear, ”Boy, I am craving
some parsnips for dinner tonight!”
And no snowman, no matter how desperate,
thinks a nose made of parsnip feels right.

Rutabagas are nothing to look at,
but their name is delightful to say.
There’s no fun to be had saying “parsnip,”
though its French name is lovely—panais.

This is me, hanging out with the produce,
sniffing kale, giving lemons a squeeze,
and considering whether those parsnips
might taste good in a mousse with blue cheese.

Patricia O’Neil is a teacher and writer who lives in Derry, NH, with her husband and fabulous dog, Vinny the Schnoodle. She was the recipient of the 2018 MacGregor Poetry Prize, and her poems have appeared in several publications, including Light and Rattle.