Gregory Emilio


These days, the talk’s about return:
not the glorious hog-wild years
on the road, my ritual worship
of rib joints, red Coke cups of beer,

and women you don’t bring home.
I miss the blue smoke of a Blues
riff mixing with the hard smoke
of oak and a sweet sooey muse.

Now they say I’m a miracle,
bona fide, a lucky cap made
its way back from the lost & found,
a dog who knows how to stay.

Of course, my brother threw a fit
when he saw me show up shoeless:
he knew I gamed it, planned to be
bailed out all along and blessed

with Daddy’s best beloved calf.
A homecoming feast for the son
whose most prodigious sin is
feasting, a belly never done.

Forgive me, friends, for I regret
nothing, no knuckle of butter
or slab of fatback, my body’s
cast iron debt to pleasure.

So what if I crawled back broke,
and begging and raw to the bone?
My tank is full, and I just wrote
the pigs—I best be getting home.

Gregory Emilio

is a food writer, poet, and teacher and has recently contributed to Best New Poets, Gastronomica, North American Review, Permafrost, The Rumpus, and Tupelo Quarterly. He earned his Ph.D. in English from Georgia State University and lives in Atlanta.