Bio Note: Food poems is what the editor calls for. I was all set to send in a poem about unworthiness, but food! Starting to think beyond the stews and chicken soups of a cold winter! My new chapbook Let's Hear It for the Horses is out and about even if the horses down the road still wear blankets as they paw the snow from pasture grass.
The Best Thing About Ketchup
is the odd bedfellows it makes, Richard Nixon and I squirted cottage cheese with thick sweet vinegar lush, how tomato sugar waits to jump the bones of fried potatoes. You can travel to Tibet and still find ketchup in the kitchen. With too many tomatoes, you can cook ten pounds for one half pint. Go ahead. Hide flavors I hate like succotash and corned beef hash. Comparing Heinz and Hunts always works to ease gaffes at a dinner table of smirks. That story about a sculptor, down on her luck, mixing water and fast food packets - tomato-ade. When you fork the runny yolk of a soft fried egg mix it in, taunt kids with popping open eyeballs. When you’re ten, directing a backyard play, you’ve got gallons of blood for foes you slay while relishing the perfect red of fire engines and the carpets of stars.
First published in The Poeming Pigeon
Mildew blights are coming on. We’ve had enough zucchini to last, well, to last for months. Withering tomato vines, their brown leaves curl and the sun goes wild gold fall setting off at an odd angle and down too early anyway. I gather up the drying beets from a crumbly sand soil, scrub and roast them, slice them with carrots with too many rootlets, odd remnants of a garden which performed well enough under sunflowers, June’s hope turned in on itself. In that canning jar, leavings, lefts. A scaley onion. Apple cider vinegar. A little salt, a little sugar. We’re back to roots, digging in. Blood-stain on my fingers. Back to roots, the underground. What we cure to remember old hearts.
First published in Visual Verse
First light the charcoal. Pour sun tea into pitchers. Put out butter, soft. Slice the brandywines. Hop in the Buick convertible, my father pressing the gas on the county line to the cornfield beside the weathered red barn. My chubby legs stuck with sweat to red leather seats. I sniffed herd smells. My father demanded I treat corn stalks like ushers at church, respectful. He examined each ear, rolled back silks, scanned for worms, pressed a kernel with his thumbrnail. He counted the baker’s dozen. I held the bag and combed the silks. Mom had the water boiling. Now the moaning barn and its ushers are a Target, acres of rows lined to plant cars. Those days we plucked and shucked ears, watched a boil roll. Doneness is return to boil. We passed butter and salt, fast.
©2022 Tricia Knoll
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