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Braised Leeks & Framboise

ISSUE:  Autumn 1985
for Annette Smith

The ocean
this morning
has tossed someone’s garbage
over its surface,
half oranges
that make my mouth pucker for
fresh juice,
lettuce leaves
looking fragile, decorative, like scarves
for the white curling locks
of old water.
It is not hard
to think of women
coming out of the dense green,
fully formed but not
of flesh, of some tissue, floating
and pale.

For breakfast
one morning
you served fresh leeks, slender
as fingers, from a sea goddess,
braised, with butter, delicate
from the Altadena garden.
It was at your house
that I first drank
that clear heady liquor,
an eau de vie, promising
that fruit did not have to be
fresh-cheeked, fat, or stupid,
that it could read Proust
or learn differential
The Saturnian taste
of old raspberries, and the moon’s
clear-fingered insistence
of leek. These two tangible things
I owe you,
along with—what? or
is there

The image of an onion, its sweet blanket layers.
The pebbled surface
of a raspberry.


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