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Greenmarket Poetry Series, curated by Greenmarket Poet Laureate Stacey Harwood-Lehman
LONG LIVE THE QUEEN
by Jennifer L. Knox
“Did you rip out all the horseradish root
last fall?” my boyfriend asks me.
“No.” I try to sound like I’d know
if I did, but I’m unsure, and the thought
that I might’ve makes me want to cry:
“No! Don’t be all gone, ingenious brain
of shoots and spindles boring through
the garden's weediest dirt.
We place the Queen of Odd Hot crown
upon your white frizzy head for when we
pulverized you in the old meat grinder
your allyl isothiocyante filled the kitchen air
like flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz
and sent us scrambling to the window,
laughing in shock at your power.
But you with the brisket: another blazing
crown, a mouth we’d never known.
The single tiny jar left in the freezer
will not be enough. Only knowing
you’ll be back, year after year,
will ever be enough.”
Jennifer L. Knox is the author of four books of poems, most recently Days of Shame and Failure (Bloof Books, 2015)
by Katha Pollitt
Like neighbors not invited to the wedding
these show up anyway: fat stalks
dull hairy leaves
they stand at the edge of the garden and cry I burn!
Ugly, but tenacious,
they make themselves useful: in teas,
poultices, cures for baldness and rheumatic complaints.
From us, such homely uses are all they can hope for,
but they too have their dream:
to be the chosen food of their beautiful loves
and red admiral caterpillars.
from Antarctic Traveller by Katha Pollitt (Knopf, 1982). Used with permission. Katha Pollitt is an American poet, essayist and critic.
THREE RHYMES ON FOOD
by Anthony Madrid
There was an old grocer whose stock boy
Was engrossed in the stacking of bok choy.
Though the pile mounted up,
He was loath to disrupt
That young person a-stacking his bok choy.
We bought some potatoes from Germany,
And their beauty and flavor confirm that we
Must rejoice in the searches
That end in the purchase
Of butterball taters from Germany.
“I have here a perfect tomato,”
Was what Socrates said unto Plato.
“I consider those rank mediocrities,”
Was what Plato replied unto Socrates.
But then Socrates said “I’m surprised!
It is not what I would have surmised!”
And then Plato expounded on eros.
And ordered the huevos rancheros.
Anthony Madrid is the author of I Am Your Slave Now Do What I Say (Canarium, 2012)
ODE TO THE BEET
by Laurie Ann Guerrero
Ruby-jewel, you are hard-brained, and your mouth never tells its own tales: you are quiet—no matter how I tease: pluck your wispy beard, chop the wooly top. Red water pools on the bamboo of my board, between the heavy ridges of my knife, under the pile of brown skins peeled exactly: I listen and you listen. In the chopping, I expect blood out of each piece. I expect a soft heart like the artichoke. I want to see explode the red all over my kitchen. Gush, seedy, like the innards of a tomato. Your quiet intimidates me. And no matter the oil, how small I chop, how I scrape your flesh, you live with your red like this: flesh and blood and bone are one: unconquerable beet, holding your red in your rib: the good and all the bloodied bad. There is no diluting you. No abolishing. No erasing. We consume each other like sisters.
Laurie Ann Guerrero is the Poet Laureate of Texas and the author of, most recently, A Crown for Gumecindo (Aztlan Libre Press, 2015)."Ode to the Beet" first appeared in the San Antonio Express News and is used with permission.