Minnesota Poetry: Connie Wanek’s “Leftovers”

Connie Wanek is the author of three books of poetry, most recently On Speaking Terms from Copper Canyon Press, and she has been the recipient of several awards, including the Willow Poetry Prize and the Jane Kenyon Poetry Prize. In 2009 Wanek was named the George Morrison Artist of the Year, an honor given to a northern Minnesotan for contributions to the arts over many years. She lives in the country outside Duluth, Minnesota, but often finds herself in a green tent somewhere in the Boundary Waters wilderness.


After you have read all you possibly can

there may be a few lines left.

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They're cold by now

as conclusions often are.

Hard, too, like beef fat that

whitens at the foot of a roast.

Some can make another meal of leftovers

and often read past midnight

drinking the last wine

directly out of the bottle.

"Happily ever after" is for those

who never seem to tire of sweets.

And you: you're already going home,

leaving me with this mess,

wrinkled napkins, bones and crusts

and onions teased out of the salad.

If only I had a pig to fatten

on last words.

- "Leftovers" by Connie Wanek, as it appears in her collection On Speaking Terms, published by Copper Canyon Press. © 2010 Copper Canyon Press