What Rough Beast | Poem for April 28, 2017

Liz Ahl
Defending the Constitution

After such a stink of a week,
spent mostly trapped inside
anxiety’s humid closet, sweating
and sorting out actual threats
from the hot but temporary blast
and bombast of empty rhetoric,
we needed to flood our home
with other scents. The cozy tang of
18 hour overnight slow-cooker stock
conjured from the saved chicken bones,
and vegetable trimmings. The gingery
perfume of West African peanut soup.
The smoky paprika and vinegar
wafting off the all-day pork shoulder
until we couldn’t stand it any more and
dove in. At the airports, lawyers
and protestors carried on with the good work
that called them: defending the Constitution,
loving the neighbor, shouting the truth,
while up here in the woods, we cooked
and ate, stored and saved, shoring up
our own constitutions, fortified and braced
ourselves for the next week back at work.


Liz Ahl is the author of Beating the Bounds, forthcoming in 2017 from Hobblebush Books. She has written four chapbooks: Home Economics and Talking About the Weather, both from Seven Kitchens Press in 2012 (the latter as part of the “Summer Kitchen” series); Luck (Pecan Grove, 2010), which received the New Hampshire Literary Awards “Reader’s Choice” in Poetry Award in 2011; and  A Thirst That’s Partly Mine, winner of the 2008 Slapering Hol Press chapbook contest. Her poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in If You Can Hear This: Poems in Protest of an American Inauguration, Atlanta Review, Able Muse, Measure, Cutthroat, and Rappahannock Review.

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