Garden Fresh – Felicia Sanzari Chernesky
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.