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Artichoke

Richard Foerster
For all the bother, it's the peeling away
we savored, the slow striptease
toward a tender heart—

how each petal dipped in the buttery sauce
was raked across our lower
teeth, its residue

less redolent of desire than sweet restraint,
a mere foretaste of passion,
but the scaly plates

piled up like potsherds in a kitchen midden,
a history in what's now
useless, discarded—

so we strained after less and less as the barbs
perhaps drew a little blood
and we cut our way

into the core to rid us of the fiber
that would stifle every ut-
terance between us.

In our quest for that morsel,
how we risked silence,
risked even
love.

From The Burning of Troy by Richard Foerster. Copyright © 2006 by Richard Foerster. Used by permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.

From The Burning of Troy by Richard Foerster. Copyright © 2006 by Richard Foerster. Used by permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.

Richard Foerster

by this poet

poem
What was given came without 
the usual reasons—the earth

that day having completed
no meaningful circuit of the sun.

The giving should have been cause enough 
for surprise, or that hidden beneath

patterned folds of wrap, within 
a box large as any man's bewilderment,

waited some unknown thing, purchased