None Of That | Anna Leahy

Image: Elia Pellegrini

A friend, a fellow poet, announces
that he will someday open a restaurant
called None Of That,
wanting customers to say
Oh, I’ll have none of that,
and by that, he means cheese!

What confidence!
I see now, only years later,
its acronym: NOT.
I am jealous of his utter disdain.
I am jealous of his unwavering voice.
What would I not serve?
What would I not allow on my menu?

All I can think is beets,
but who likes beets?
They would not be missed.
No, I long to loathe
what others likely love,
and to be okay with that loathing.
But I am poor at decisions.
Insouciance is an illusion.

I desire to deny others
based on my own predilections,
the strength of my convictions,
whether right or wrong,
but I find myself lacking,
full of wishy-washy sympathy.
Though I don’t much like—what?
what is it?—mint! trigger of my migraines,
I see how others might.
I have seen the thick tongue licking
mint-chocolate-chip from a cone,
have heard talk of julep, a spoonful of sugar
to help the medicine go down.

This friend will not stop.
He claims that his second restaurant will be called
None of That Either.
He has more, more than I can muster.
I try harder to think of something, the thing.
But all I want to keep from others
is what I most want for myself
because there might not be enough
to go around.


Anna Leahy is the author of the nonfiction book Tumor and the poetry collections Aperture and Constituents of Matter. Her work has appeared at Aeon, The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, The Southern Review, and elsewhere, and her essays have won top awards from the Los Angeles Review, Ninth Letter, and Dogwood. She directs the MFA in Creative Writing program at Chapman University, where she edits the international Tab Journal. See more at www.amleahy.com.

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