Deep in our refrigerator,
there’s a special place
for food that’s been around awhile…
we keep it, just in case.
‘It’s probably too old to eat,’
my mother likes to say.
‘But I don’t think it’s old enough
for me to throw away.’
It stays there for a month or more
to ripen in the cold,
and soon we notice fuzzy clumps
of multicolored mold.
The clumps are larger every day,
we notice this as well,
but mostly what we notice
is a certain special smell.
When finally it all becomes
a nasty mass of slime,
my mother takes it out, and says,
‘Apparently, it’s time.’
She dumps it in the garbage can,
though not without regret,
then fills the space with other food
that’s not so ancient yet