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Poem: Lentils & Rice

John C. Mannone

  • jenni ho-huan

    the poem immediately made me think of Esau who of course is a powerful indictment of how we are often callous about our spiritual inheritance in Christ, choosing fast food over the Meal Jesus offers. I don't quite get the link with Saddam, but i think perhaps it's the same: seeking a quick solution?

  • Alice LaChapelle

    Your description of the 'innocent one' made my soul cry. For a few moments, I felt cleansed, accepted, gifted. Thank you.

  • metin erdem

    This poem made me think once more about the Iraq War and Saddam Hussein. Many innocent people died in the war of Iraq. We all are guilty. We are guilty because we watched the dying of innocent children and women. May God forgive all of us.

  • Erna Albertz,

    Thanks for reading. How did this poem speak to you? Please share your thoughts.

He peers into the blue bowl:
lamb broth infusing grains
of rice and lentils, brown
dregs upwelling to surface—
for a moment mesmerized,
murky quick-silt pulling him
under; he grimaces about the
future. The rice looks dirtied,
like so many thoughts. He knows
they’d also feed lentils & rice
to Hussein before hanging him,
but Saddam would have no remorse.

This man is innocent. His eyes
full of tears.

Before he lifts the torn pieces
of bread and the blood colored
wine he’s staring into, he looks
up to the others, their eyes soft.
In a broken voice he says,
This is my body, this my blood
which is shed for you.













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John C. Mannone has published poetry in the New England Journal of Medicine, Inscape Literary Journal, Windhover, Baltimore Review, and other magazines. He was awarded a 2016 Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities writing residency, and had two literary poetry collections featured at the 28th Southern Festival of Books. He edits poetry for Silver Blade and Abyss & Apex, and is a college professor of physics in east Tennessee. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart three times. Visit