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I want to bake a pie for democracy

Pie crust being made
Rebecca Smith

Willis is the founder and director of Oregon's Kitchen Table at Portland State University and executive director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium. She is the author of a textbook, a book of essays and two books of poems.

A fistful of blueberries, crabapples,
boysenberries, quince. Pink
currants, a sprinkle. Chokecherries,
honey, rum to taste.


A slosh of the miracle
that is vanilla
Then shroud our gaze and mutter
It must be done now, mustn't it?

Our troubles bearing
down the narrow
end of a scope.
Mustn't it?

Squinting at grackle
and rattlesnake,
flash flood
and cracked asphalt.

Whom do we petition?
Saint? Senator?
Titan of industry?
On second thought,

this is a day for a parade.
Let's call a vote. But even two
cups of sugar won't sweeten the pot.
Blackberries creep

over the back fence, tempting
as they ever were.
The ayes have it.
Four and twenty blackbirds

seem not quite enough now.
I prefer my fellowship at a distance.
Baking time: long and hot.
(Let us pray).

All of us jostling cheek to jowl
whispering sedition and joy
Bumping one against another—
the sharp elbows of rebellion,

the soft thighs of longing.
All of it, all of us,
here, together,
clouding our eyes.

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Oh, world without end!
(Let us pray. Or at least call the question.)
Who will caucus with the dead?
I'll set the coffee on.

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