By Liz Ahl
“It might have been otherwise.”
How much of this world
will be enough? How many feasts,
how many strange flavors enough
to blunt the ash of sadness
on the tongue? What obscure corner
far enough away, what language
untranslatable enough to soothe
cotton into tired ears? What grandmother's
recipe for what creature's least
Tonight, we’re at our small town table
with laden plates—kohlrabi braised
in cider and butter, the luck
of local pork chops and the last
of last summer’s sweet corn from the freezer.
It’s bounty and peace tonight, but we know enough
to know any night might offer only cardboard and sawdust,
the taste buds themselves seized by amnesia,
the familiar void still unfillable.
Liz Ahl lives in New Hampshire. Her book of poems, Beating the Bounds, was published in 2017 by Hobblebush Books. Previous collections include the chapbooks Home Economics and Talking About the Weather, published in 2016 and 2012 by Seven Kitchens Press. Her second chapbook, Luck (Pecan Grove, 2010) received the New Hampshire Literary Awards "Reader's Choice" in Poetry Award in 2011, and her first chapbook, A Thirst That's Partly Mine, won the 2008 Slapering Hol Press chapbook contest. Her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Court Green, Crab Orchard Review, Measure, Cutthroat, and other journals. She has been awarded residencies at Jentel, Playa, The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and The Vermont Studio Center.