Poem of the Month: Eating Artichokes

My first artichoke
bloomed on its plate
like a sea plant,
petals steamed open,
green shadow cups,
secret flesh.

I had to watch you
to learn how to eat
how to pull off leaves,
scrape teeth and lips
across tough skin,
reap the meat.

The soft inner flaps
purple-edged, pale
wrapped the deadly choke;
tufted, lethal feathers
hid a waiting heart,
tender, thick.

You whisked it away
sliced back the tendrils
poised to strangle,
presented the naked heart
doused in fresh butter,

I thought you’d saved my life
ushered me through danger
into luscious pleasure,
and every artichoke since
renews the old challenge:
risk or starve.


“Eating Artichokes” was published in the on-line journal, Switched-On Gutenberg, 2000.


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