Kitchen Denizen

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June 22, 2017 by The Citron Review

By Anna Kelley


It’s become absurd to imagine how others
breathe air unadorned with scorched garlic—
devoid of pungency, no smoky sweetness
filling their mouths like a second set of teeth.
Onion juggler, they call me. The barefoot
and glorious Bathsheba of baking soda.
More often than not, I trust only my tastebuds
when taking directions in life. Spitting skillets
have left me half blind—I kiss foreheads
and know to speak comfort when my lips
return salted by sweat. But most of the time
I don’t kiss people at all. The skin of men
is less supple than dough, which rises
indiscriminate of whether I trim the tips
of my eyebrows and scrape away the nutmeg
crusted beneath my nails. Why should I scan
the streets for animate flesh when I prefer
to crush lemons and spices, labor over pasta racks,
fall asleep facedown in an angel food cake?
The nonstop massage of olive oil into pans
has turned my hands an unsightly chartreuse.
I’m unfit for society. If I am a mother to anything
then let it be bread.


Anna Kelley is pursuing an MFA in poetry at Syracuse University. She is a reader for Salt Hill and moonlights as a skater for Assault City Roller Derby. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Cherry Tree, Literary Orphans, Up the Staircase Quarterly, CICADA, Split Lip Magazine, and others.

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