Garden Fresh – Felicia Sanzari Chernesky

Cucumber

Chubby innocent, obscenely

long, chum to sour, acid,

salt and sweet, you certainly

diversify—but what is it

about your juicy, stubbled, thick-skinned

crunch that pairs so well with upper

crustless cream cheese politesse?

Dill—your Chanel No. 5.

 

Corn

Yielding to summer’s sultry madness

you let me sink my teeth into

your tender kernels, slow cob-simmered

and dripping butter flecked with pepper

and coarse pink salt. Row by row,

I turn you into a terrible listener.

 

Cantaloupe

Your perfume permeates the weeks

when Dog Days pant, although one moistly

magic bite can conjure pumpkin

the way a hot cicada morning

sometimes fiddles harvest.

 

Jersey Boy

Thin-skinned beefsteak, sun worshipper,

your meaty flesh defies a water

weight of 94 percent,

decreeing: Olive oil anoint me!

Weave my heady basil crown.

Kneel to pluck me from the vine—

I am delectable. I am divine.

 

Artichoke

I was missing at least 8

essential vitamins & minerals,

but then you came into my life,

steaming combat green and lemony.

Scraping my teeth across your armored

leaves, I’m surprised by thistle bliss.

You guard the tenderest of hearts.

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Felicia Sanzari Chernesky is a longtime editor, slowly publishing poet, and author of six picture books, including From Apple Trees to Cider, Please! and The Boy Who Said Nonsense (Albert Whitman & Company). In 2018 she moved away from the masthead of an academic quarterly to work with people who want to share their stories, ideas, and poems in print. Her fiction has been nominated for a 2021 Pushcart Prize and Best Microfiction Award. She lives with her family in Flemington, New Jersey. Find her online at www.feliciachernesky.com