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Writers share 'love of food'


July 12, 2017
Dear Reader, we're drying lavender bundles for my culinary fancy. This means it's time to announce the first, second, and third place winners of the Second Annual Yule Love It Lavender Farm & Letters Poetry Contest.

My thanks to all who took the leap of faith and submitted poetry about "The Love of Food." And my gratitude to Linda Nemec Foster of Grand Rapids for judging the entries.

I think it remarkable how she chose three poems that speak the love language of food—the inseparable bond between our nourishment, family, and friends. Please, enjoy the feast!

First Place:

shadow
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La Mia Fame -

my hunger

the wine tastes of sweet oak, a flock of starlings

their sudden rush of wings in my mouth lifting

me weightless like notes from a bamboo flute-

and the bouquet, boysenberry, spiced plum,

the first swallow a rich mouthfeel, currants

and dark chocolate doing a tango on my tongue

making me want to gulp not sip-

the insalada's wild greens peppered with garbanzos

from the other side of the world where

my grandmother once crushed them into falafel

and humus dreaming of America—

there is a language to this meal, chicken Piccata

garnished with capers and artichokes, awash

in white wine brodo, the candle flame reflecting

on my water goblet the way it did that Bermuda night

when we ate Carpaccio and lobster on the patio,

wind ruffling my hair, cooling our sun burnt skin-

now, the sunset melts down our window

like icing, and something floats inside me

carrying a fullness there is no word for.

By Carol Was, Plymouth, MI

Second Place:

Six O'clock

What you show me in the kitchen

is magic.

Fed from wooden spoons,

every meal made

from your great-grandmother's cast iron,

imbued with years

of secrets

whispered down generations

along with seeds passed

from palm to palm.

Listen, she said, to the snap of peas,

the hush of basil,

the singing of rosemary.

What others can't combine,

and see only individuals,

you make whole,

create something

other—

a bite puckers cheeks,

licks lips, and spices no longer

need names.

Because what needs a name

when it gives back memories?

If tastes could be spoken, it would sound

like a sigh,

and that sigh would be

every dish

you made me.

By Ashley Huntley, Washington, MI

Third Place:

Dried Lemons

"In a net," she says. But they're loose for 69 cents.

Four bags ride home, stuff our crisper bins.

We stir buckets of lemonade, pucker,

add granular sugar. Tongues play with pulp sacs,

firm as grapes. She mixes in raspberries, ginger ale.

She paints. Lemon halves, stars showing, dried,

she stamps, purple, pink, yellow, patterns ringed

by thick circles, like embryo nebulas. Raucous

forms cavort on a celestial canvas.

Cinnamon hair glistens by daybreak sun.

Fingers dappled with color, she caresses

a stained china mug, sips blackberry tea.

Her dimples lively, she taps my hand.

The phone rings, Kagen arrives from Ireland

on the one-fifteen. She bites her thin lip, as she does,

says, "It's not about you," sprints away,

first love eclipsing weathered bond.

Weeks later, her key lays on the counter

like spare change. Space, disarray in the left-over house.

Lemon hulls, crusted in paint, wither by the window.

In the crisper, brown spots on puckered yellow skins

join like the freckle glaze adorning her nose.

At her unfinished canvas, under hazy daylight,

I dip newly dried fruit in mauve, fog, ash, charcoal.

Chisel radishes and stamp them with white.

Arms ache, fingers search, lost in ethereal dreams.

The art hovers outside my bedroom door. I pass

our creation, follow her eyes, ablaze behind the stars.

By Christian Belz, Berkley, MI

Email Iris at irisleeu@sbcglobal.net.

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