Weevil Hardtack

Union soldiers joked
that weevil in flour
was the only fresh meat
they would ever see.

Instead of sugar, the men
crumbled and sprinkled
their rations of hardtack
into morning coffee:

the hot liquid soothed
the cracked biscuit skin,
made it limp and soft
enough to choke down.

Best of all, weevil larvae
would float to top of  cups:
making it easy to skim them out
quick with tin spoons.

The soldiers preferred to eat
in the forgiving dark,
imagining the extra crunch
was just stale crumbs, praying:

Lord, though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I will fear no weevil,
For Thou are with me.

 — Angela Lin

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