Douglas Jones

[Bodie makes goulash…]

Bodie makes goulash on the hottest day of the hottest year because the Costco sack of paprika bought at The Food Ministry last week is about to run overripe. Pinky to tongue to Mars-red-powder-mound to tongue—this would tell anyone the same thing. This means sweating the onions. This means treating garlic like a cockroach: the flat of the knife, a heavy boot. On screen, the Hungarian gets a semi-precious medal for appropriately squeezing the trigger between heartbeats and breaths. At his feet, the photographer lays supine as an ancient corpse frozen on a mountain. Bodie has counted his heartbeats, has seared the meat properly. He licked the knife silver. “We are all champions,” the commercial says. Yes. This cut in the tongue, spilling down the soaked weekend shirt, will make the podium. Raise the rag. Cue the tune. This view from the kitchen window is of a river which, on a day like this, appears to be only a stream of fish sweat.

[No Ice…]

No ice. No snow. No memories of milk glass float
like apples in Bodie’s mind. And yet
the buoyancy of fruit haunts the air. One ill-timed
rain and the cherries split.  One frost and the grapes
go to meal. How like the peach to give up
its sugar in the refrigerated hull of a freight truck.
How like the peach to keep the pit bitter, sharp for the tongue.
And how like the neighbor’s squash to overgrow
itself as though The Big One finally hit vegetal
Instead of oceanic fault-line. How lazy to worship one god
at a time. How weary one grows in lack of a garden.

Douglas S. Jones is the author of the chapbook No Turning East. His poems have most recently appeared in Blackbird, Barrow Street, The Pinch, and were featured in American Life in Poetry. He teaches English and glass blowing in Michigan.