Food Poetry: Crushed

The intersection of food and poetry is a natural one: both are subjects that concern themselves with experience, memory, sense, and self. Starting this April, during National Poetry Month, we’ve asked some of our favorite poets from around the world to share works that fuse the poetic with the edible. See a gallery of last year’s food poems »


by Timothy Liu

His hands crushed a lemon
over oysters on the half shell

floating on a bed of ice—

the brinier the better, he said,
malt vinegar and fingers

trumping cocktail sauce or fork—

those lemon halves wrapped
in gauze magnifying

what you kept to yourself—

having no idea how fast
he could slurp a dozen down

before you had the chance

to pick your napkin off the floor.
He left you in a motel room,

the slow leak of the toilet tank

an endless running brook
that would keep you up all night—

Timothy Liu is the author of ten books of poems, including_Don't Go Back To Sleep, forthcoming from Saturnalia Books in the Fall. He lives in Manhattan with his husband._

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