I sit in a pub in Melrude with friends,

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.