The latest in our seasonal poems by Susan Kinsolving, one of our most stalwart Voices in Verse. Her books include The White Eyelash, Dailies & Rushes (a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award) and Among Flowers. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and publications including The New York Times Book Review, Poetry, Yale Review and The Paris Review. She has taught at numerous universities, including Bennington and CalArts. Several of her poems have been set to music and performed in the United States and abroad. Look here soon for an interview with Susan, who today offers us a poetic narration with timeless romance, humor and a dash of soft-core porn.

Odd this first date, left to
wait, a guest in her kitchen.
He stared at her spice shelf,
wondering at himself.

Allspice, arrowroot, and
cardamom, her bouquet
garni in earthenware:
each essence held him there.

Cinnamon, cassia,
chili peppers ranked
by “heat unit” degrees.
Recipes for alchemies?

Rosemary, saffron, sage,
sea salt, and savory,
his thoughts grew more heady.
She smiled, “Supper’s ready.”

Piquant and poignant, she
seasoned their chat,
then laughed: “How absurd!
I’m Ginger and you’re Herb.”

He relished each extract,
root, seed, leaf, and powder.
After her cream of tartar,
he knew no one smarter.

Through a grind of tarragon,
turmeric, thyme, and fate,
his mind kept on milling.
Her zest was too thrilling.

As if by star anise,
his future felt guided.
He saw his lost libido
deep in her jalapeno.

He said, “Something’s changing.
My taste buds seem new.”
She laughed, “You’re a flirt.
Just eat your just dessert.”

She’d made a concoction
of mocha cream, vanilla
bean, and a dash of mace.
Soon his heart began to race.
(continued)

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