Bio Note: Looking at a newspaper's slide show of pictures from my hometown of Shrewsbury, MA, I noticed that quite a few were of restaurants. This may explain why I write a lot of poems with food imagery. I try to write about other things. Recently, some of them were published in Eos:The Creative Context, Mad Swirl, and Sequoyah Cherokee River Journal.
Food Is Love
This afternoon you offer me the rest of the mochi. You compel; no, you encourage; no, you decline to take the last three deflated mock-eggs runny with tangy mango and sweet ice cream. I remember the last time I brought you food: chocolate in the shape of an evil eye that could not ward off my racing heart or your migraines. Chocolate tastes like ashes to us now. I recall the last time I cooked for you: salmon top heavy with orange slices and sloshed with mojo criollo from the Puerto Rican grocery store that’s been closed for ten years; angel-hair pasta with walnuts, olives, flecks of red pepper; cinnamon and chocolate gelato for dessert. In some other kitchen, I chanted food is love food is love food is love.
At the Museum of Dictionaries
for Madeleine Kripke 1943-2020
Letters clump and crackle, come apart and dance in humid, afternoon air. Vowels, consonants, accents, umlauts bind together, keep out yellowing sun. The flute from the hidden radio threads the path from room to room. The small woman with a flashlight follows, pauses at each curious book. Words dazzle and twirl on each page, some as large as the kitchen counter, others as small as a doll’s saucer perched on the guide’s pink fingernails. One red evening the guide runs out of time. While clouds outside heap up like dust, letters catch in her throat. Now there are no words in any language for woman or book or breath.
After Tara Hayes’ Emerald Park, 2020
This time the stones are scrubbed clean, then coated with gunmetal gray. Here I breathe in charcoal and paint. I walk quickly, searching for what I might still remember. I try to recall how I walked then, unaware of heart and breath. I wore a long skirt to hide thick legs, to glide over uneven sidewalks, through tunnels where graffiti grew, to walk through Olmsted Park. Its trees are now brick-colored outlines I can pass through without touching leaves or bark, without hearing birds. The kettle pond contracts to a rock to match paint that resists my gaze. Green, without windows, towers hover in the distance. I enter the artist’s Emerald Park.
©2020 Marianne Szlyk
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