First Place Poetry: Pickling Papaya

. October 30, 2015.

The onion parts where the knife greets it,

Falling away in rings that pile

On the board and sting your eyes. Then

Take up the greens in a bundle,

Hold them ready for the cut,

Keeping them all together so that

they may be sliced at once

with no falling away, no defections.

Cut them fine, so that everywhere

There will be a trace of their presence.

Garlic next, the thinnest lengthwise slice

To make available the subtle tang and savor

That trumps all other flavors and makes them sing.

Then the hot peppers, their fire banked

When the seeds that contain it are removed,

Are cut in strips and added to the rest.

Last take the flayed papaya, undressed, revealed

In its bare flesh, running with juice

Begging to be bitten, cut into, eaten

But now merely made ready in small sections

To better absorb the flavor of its companions

Swimming in the liquor then added

Alive and changing everything to itself

Teaching the merely perishable how to last,

to become more than it might have been,

nourishing, savory,

Persistent.

 

Marc Lecard, lives, writes, cooks, and plays music in Ypsilanti. He has published two crime novels; his crime and supernatural short stories are in numerous magazines and anthologies, in print and online.

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