The tupperware bowl sat
in the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.
From there, it mocked everyone-
Daughter and her family:
the visiting vegetarians.
the embarrassed hosts.
But, mainly, it mocked the stepdaughter;
the offensive salad’s creator.
The peculiar swirls of multicolored pasta,
mimicking vegetable patch’s variety,
leave oily skid marks on plastic’s side.
The pool of Italian dressing slowly soaked
by rotini’s thirst- mixed in are
bits of feta, chopped pepper, skinny sliced onion,
and the vile enemy-
tiny, round pieces of pepperoni.
The salad had been made a week before,
the upcoming visit far from her mind,
by the hungry step daughter- she fumbled in
what she could find, in pursuit of her
favorite summer snack. When others arrived,
however, the large blue lid was peeled back
to reveal the tragedy it held.
“We’ll have to make a new one” the step-mom commented,
but let the atrocity lay on its shelf, an
open casket for all to mourn.
Each day, a shower of new comments
circled around the salad’s scandal-
each accompanied with a glance of
annoyance threw her way.
“Pasta salad would go well with this,” daughter’s husband
would comment, his plate feeling its absence.
“Make sure Aunt Jude brings vegetarian salad,”
the daughter would say, adding with her glance,
“with no pepperoni in it.”
The stepdaughter sat, head hung
knowing Clinton could sooner forget Monica
than them let slip away her meaty blunder.
Four adults between them could not produce
another salad, but instead created in her the deep knot
of knowledge that she sat at their family table
as unwanted as her carnivorous creation.