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from FOOD by Tommy Pico

Dear Reader,

Preheat the oven to 420 degrees.

Wash the bird and remove its innards and cut off all the schmaltz.

Oil literally everything.

Stuff garlic, onion, and quartered lemon into the cavity

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about heat. In An Everlasting Meal, Tamar Adler, waxing poetic on boiling cauliflower, writes: “Heat is a vital broker between separate things.” Today I buttered around the city as it leaped into its summer self. A couple nights ago we saw highs in the mid-40s. Springtime is so insecure, right? But at least we know where its heading.

Spread the rigid cubes of of sweet potatoes and bunched Brussels sprouts around the pan.

Pepper and salt liberally. Sprinkle with thyme.

Avoid making stupid thyme puns like thyme after thyme, or thyme is on my side, or right in the knick of thyme, or thyme waits for no one, or thyme’s up! or thyme out New York, or if I could turn back thyme, or I’ve had the thyme of my life and I never felt this way before, or thyme warp, or thyme in a bottle, or I got that summerthyme summerthyme sadness, thyme and thyme again, first thyme I ever saw yr face, thymes they are a changin, it’s the most wonderful thyme of the year, it’s the thyme of the season when love runs high, love me two thymes, or once, twice, three thymes a lady—be a gd adult.

Dear reader,

White as a bell, you whisk me to a fever

like the ruby cinnamon—Hey! Let’s make a vinaigrette

Did you know molasses emulsifies the olive oil and keeps the little fat molecules from stumbling into each other, thus allowing the oil and vinegar to mix? A sauce is broken when the oil separates

like a heart

Sometimes this is inevitable, no matter how hard you shake the mason jar.

A bumble bee’s tiny hairs curl in the electric field of a flower and the seasons and the fields sway their harvest like a rolling sea

The ppl are looking for an excuse to wear shorts again. I don’t know what this flower is called, but in the breeze it looks like a butterfly on a string. The ppl keep sweaters in their backpacks—Balance

is not unlike how rice and beans shouted “You complete me!” in the crowded train station millions of years ago. Dice the leeks. Snap off

the inedible ends of the asparagus

salt salt salt until you can angel in it

If a tree falls in the woods, does an egg go in the spinach salad,

and other thoughts that dangle like a dog in the porchlight of the morning sun.

Dear reader,

I don’t know where

the feeling is or what to do

with it and spent most of the day in bed with my eyes squeezed shut

but then I went to the park

with my boyfriend

and ate an ice cream sandwich and an empanada

We went to the vigil and marched and held hands

Got pizza and played pool at a gay bar

with friends bc whatever season it is

it will not be open season on my spirit

And then went to karaoke

and after, I told him I loved him

for the first time in my life

said it to someone I’m dating

and he said I love you so much and I know

where that feeling is

and what to do with it It's going

all over the place.


Tommy “Teebs” Pico is the author of IRL (Birds, LLC, 2016), Nature Poem (forthcoming 2017 from Tin House Books), and the zine series Hey, Teebs. He was a Queer/Art/Mentors inaugural fellow, 2013 Lambda Literary fellow in poetry, and has poems in BOMB, Guernica, and The Offing. Originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, he now lives in Brooklyn and with Morgan Parker co-curates the reading series Poets With Attitude (PWA).

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