MUSIC TO READ BY

Poetry

Taste Testing by Sarah Fawn Montgomery

A Meditation on Working as a Produce Clerk by Ross Stager

Le Fouquet by Elisa Albo

Two Poems by Sarah Paley

Transubstantiation by Susan O'Dell Underwood

Two Poems by Sharon Abra Hanen

Strawberries by Vincent Peloso

Chin Chin by Jessica M. Brophy

Nonpareil by Lois Rosen

Creating Foodie Monsters by Elisa Albo

Foods I Love by Meredith Drake

Three Poems by Terence Winch

Soufflé by Piscilla Atkins

Three Poems by Gail Peck

Under the Kitchen Floor by Bruce Cohen

Spring Peas Come to the Stores by Hannah Fischer

Two Poems by Grace Bauer

Kettle by Susan Kelly-DeWitt

Going to Get Swedish by Carol Berg

Potluck on Sulphur Creek by Brenda Butka

My Mother's Handwriting by Julia Wendell

Radish by Lauren Henley

The Way of the Buddha by Nadia Ibrashi

Famine Bread by Karen Holmberg

Leer Comida by Andrés Catalán

Cooking Show by Gary Mesick

Museum of Butter by Carol Jenkins

Two Poems by Crystal Simone Smith

Yardbird Suite by John Dufresne

Taste Testing

by Sarah Fawn Montgomery

—For Margot Woelk, one of Hitler’s fifteen food tasters    

August 2014    


Tonight it’s asparagus, peppers stuffed
with cheese and wild rice.
Mama wrote the other day to say
she was living on porridge,
hadn’t seen the milkman in weeks,
me sipping ruby wine,
cautious, trying not to choke.

Been here two years, sampling,
rolling food around my mouth
waiting to taste my fate—
at which meal will I die?
To think I used to enjoy
cracking the brittle, sugared shell
of crème brûlée—now a bomb.

If I go, I’ll take the lot
with me—fifteen girls in total
line up as the meal moves
from mouth to mouth.
And he likes spice to liven his life
so we’re tearing, noses running,
someone shouting to see if we’re alright.

Sometimes when I’m wincing
at the hot mustard
I never liked as a girl,
Eva watches me,
adjusts her napkin in her lap
like she knows what it’s like
to swallow something poison.

Come to think of it, I’m not
tasting anything—don’t know
much beyond the waiting
to see if I stay, go,
food a guessing game
that leaves me hollowed out
like the pepper he puts to his thin lips.

 



  Sarah Fawn Montgomery is the author of The Astronaut Checks His Watch (Finishing Line Press). Her poetry and prose have appeared in various magazines including Confrontation, Crab Orchard Review, DIAGRAM, Fugue, Georgetown Review, The Los Angeles Review, North Dakota Quarterly, The Pinch, Puerto del Sol, Southeast Review, Zone 3 and others.

 

Photo used under Creative Commons.