A tomato, plucked from an ox’s heart,
Is the same as everything else.
A sauce of its own raw body,
An ablution for other muscles, flavors
They can’t leave home without.
Like the trellises & trees above them.
I was even willing to eat
Countless badly cooked bowls of rice
In order to arrive sauceless.
The vine, a skeleton.
A tomato, the size of an ox’s chest,
Gazing proudly and westward toward a setting sun.
Who’s ready to be culled today,
The herd’s farthest day into the future?
A grain of rice soaked in red, tender enough,
Comforts me to sleep almost before dinner registers.
A bean, plucked from a panther’s paw
Is the same as a panther’s paw
Plucked from a dried pod, in mid-fall.
The sauce is a reduction
Of its miles
From home. The vine, an arm
In the skeleton of the garden.



Click here to read Russell Zintel on the origin of the poem.

Image: photo by Samuele Pieretti on Unsplash, licensed under CC 2.0.

Russell Zintel:

‘Germane’ was written from the mindset of a chef or a cook, who attempts but probably fails to spend equal time in the garden, someone who works with tomatoes and beef hearts in equal measure and becomes desensitized to their origins. This poem is that cook’s reckoning with a suddenly lurid germaneness between the garden and what ends up in the kitchen as ingredients, how there’s a connection there and it flows both ways. It’s a reification of a cook’s relationship with death, ethics, life, and longing, in and out of the kitchen.

Russell Zintel
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