Joannie Kervran

Dinner, Writing, with Frida Kahlo
The birches sway in skirts of nascent green
as I drive home with paper sacks of food,
peppers and the pale orb of an onion,
translucent as moonlight inside its skin.
In the backseat, children wriggle and squirm--
and Iím beginning to think of this poem.

I unpack the groceries, worry this poem
like a knot, tightened by hand.  Peppers, green
and waxen, spill seeds that scatter and squirm
across the counter.  It takes heart for food
to become a vocation.  The crisp skin
peels thin as love notes, slips from my onion

like a poem, and suddenly the onion
is burning.  Singed surfaces trace a poem
across the pan, words hidden in the skin
of chorizo, still frozen, and the green
peppers waiting on the board.  This good food
may take all night to cook.  Images squirm

in a verse about Frida Kahlo, squirm
into heated tortillas.  Onion
and peppers sizzle, stick.  Disasterís food
for thought, and my musings stir up this poem
in respect, words and paint, simmering green
and ochre, the pulsing red outside skin

is a squeezing heart that fills my own skin
with the walnut-tang smell of paint, the squirm
of uneasy metaphors.  Words are green,
too young to describe her art.  The onion
caramelizes, transforms, while Kahloís poem
gains a line, a stanza, the shape of food

plated and warm.  Now I offer this food
to my family, serve up the shrinking skin
of onions, oils and arteries: my poem,
a small meal, a struggling dessert.  Iíll squirm
through the night, awake with memories of onion,
indigestion, pulled by the piercing green

desire to paint this poem a verdant green,
to squirm with heart, and the skinís pleasure food.
Eat.  The moon rises full as an onion.

Copyright 1998, Joannie Kervran
Joannie Kervranís chapbook, A Steady Longing for Flight, won the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award.  Her work has also appeared in Rain City Review, Point No Point, and Pontoon 

Switched-on Gutenberg 
Thematic Contents / Vol. 3, No. 2 
Back / Forward