a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
woodstove warmth melting my iced
jeans. Wet now, I shiver, Buster shakes
off Minnesota snow from a frozen no-name
lake with Northern Pike perfect for pickling:
dill, water, salt, vinegar, onion, and garlic— Blue Ball jars.
Pizza comes, not Chicago style, or even Domino’s
but it tastes like lobster and Porterhouse. PBR
substitutes for vintage vino, perhaps Bordeaux.
Might this be what a spoonful of rice tastes
like in Pauk Taw? Or Haitian mud cookies:
mud, water, and vegetable oil— rooftop baked.
Four pike thaw in the kitchen sink stinking past
cinnamon and cloves. The stovetop simmering,
shard jaws smiling at inside jokes— whispered
secrets about stainless glaives. Fillets
chunked to separate flesh from viscera:
steep in salt and water— add white vinegar.
The Orange Roughy heads priceless, pilfered while
tumbling down stainless chutes reflecting Sugarloaf
mountain and mirroring seagull wings and turning terns.
Collected in sodden sacks, excited chatter stammering,
finned stench, like lutefisk, instead faces seething for soup:
fish-heads, water, salt, tofu, sake, cilantro.
Grey-tongued Haitians would not beg for better.
Jeff Neal Gregg lives on a small crown of clay between a tag elder swamp and a vernal pond in Fayal Township on Minnesota’s Iron Range. When he is not haunting the smattering of small towns, iron-ore stained dirt roads, and bottomless bogs tucked away in the bush, he teaches writing and literature at Mesabi Range College. Jeff writes poetry and plays and recently had his short play, Mobbin’ Minny, selected and read at the 25th Annual Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.@jeffnealgregg