; Ingredients


; Ingredients

We’ll never make it to the bone.


At five years old, I wondered

how to spell letters. How do you spell “h” or “u”?

I asked my elders.

In the corners of a classroom,

I sat gouging notebooks, hoping to break

down sounds.

I uncrossed Ts, threw balls

from Is, and made kindling from M’s.

My teacher couldn’t answer. Who pulls

the puppetmaster’s strings?

she wondered in private.


When I was little

I thought making things from scratch

meant making the ingredients:

scraping the earth

into troughs, planting wheat,

sprinkling water, grinding flour,

picking sugar cane

I still catch myself thinking

using store-bought flour is cheating.


Levine’s angel butcher[1]

wields his cleaver to

dissect a child like a flower

After the butcher’s legs finish

jumping and twitching

he’ll notice he can’t

remove fog from the boy’s


He can’t filet and cook

the storm

into summer


Capture a firefly in a mason


to admire and examine its glow.

As hours pass and it flickers fast


its battery will die and

your room will be dark.

the bug will be dead

in a jar that smells of spaghetti

and you still won’t know how

it broke the dark.

[1] Levine, Philip. “Angel Butcher.” New Selected Poems. New York: Knopf Doublesday, 2011. Print.


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