Published on Academy of American Poets (


After The I Hate to Cook Cookbook (1961)
How scattered I am: post-spouse, with company coming;
in Florida in my earthquake gown, in my eelskin slingbacks
and electric mink stole. I tried to make
puff paste with sweating hands; butter
in the KitchenAid, covered in Everglaze;
apocalyptic looking and no one to stall.
Now egret feathers and alligators and gas
are gone; polar fur coats are all vintage
or bottle jobs and the corn is crawling even in the Bracken
and the Glades. But I'm up and dressed, at least; I make
of this doctored lambskin a dish of myself: big hair,
lippy, a little bit lush, maybe even horny. I'm going
to breathe in and replate the take-out
again, shake cocktails. I'm going to spread swampy,
an idea, a mangrove of the air.


Copyright © 2014 by Karen Leona Anderson. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on March 25, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

About this Poem

"An earthquake gown was designed to keep one warm during the London earthquakes of 1750. What better to wear to one's first solo dinner party in Florida, post-1950s, post-divorce, post-climate change, post-cooking, post-eating, post-everything?"
—Karen Leona Anderson


Karen Leona Anderson

Karen Leona Anderson is the author of Receipt (Milkweed Editions, 2016) and Punish Honey (Carolina Wren Press, 2009). She teaches at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Date Published: 2014-03-25

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