Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Leave it to Charlotte's Lee Ann Brown: A poem about poke sallet

Lee Ann Brown grew up in Charlotte. She is the founder of the award-winning, independent poetry press Tender Buttons and the author of several collections of poetry, including her most recent, "In the Laurels, Caught" (Fence Books, $15.95). She divides her time between New York City, where she teaches at St. John's University, and Marshall, N.C.

The following is from "In the Laurels, Caught."


is cooked not raw

              stay ahead
              of the red

Eat in spring
       cook when 6 inches or less

lymph cleanser

   2 boils

Do Not drink the potlikker

Eat the berry

1 on the 1st day
2 on the 2nd day
3 on the 3rd day

How far do you
spit out the poisonous seeds?

become a dynamic accumulator
bringing up minerals from below

Children in a school near here used poke ink
It was that with which they wrote

any daughter paints her arms

             the way to play the plants

   on paper the unfixed juice goes from bright magen-
ta to a dried blood color

the man who built our house
     first dreamed of a pokeberry sky

 but after a hot day of crushing berries
and smearing the boards, gave into Benjamin Moore

it's "hard to fix"

 that color more bright than cochineal


Bobby said...

Nice, and educational. Poets need to know how to eat what is available.