It is necessary we meet today
to talk of tables for open-air seating
and we taste the new salad
thin slices of summer squash and shavings of almonds
yuzu oiling tines that stab into our shared bowl from a distance.
I learn it is important to find joy in the worst things
so I sit kitty-corner to him at the back table after
and help pit high-summer cherries rubescent and bloody
and our nails bite into skin, wild canine teeth that feed
our hands are savage, and they tear, and they plumb flesh
the surgery of creatures digging and digging into mines
as if each uncovered and tossed pit might lead the way
towards something worth keeping. The aftermath is a horror.
Gore lights the table, a battlefield bespattered
strewn with piles of ripped open cherry corpses.
It is only loss. Halfway through, we run out of things to say
our hands are stained, so we wash them over and over
together in the back kitchen sink
missing a leg since we opened,
pink afterbirth water falls into the floor drain
and I wipe the wooden platter of our undoing
as he sugars and waters and heats
the mountain of remainders in some shiny new saucepan
and I am with the wad of towels soaked garnet
panty liners in the days that followed what unraveled
uncurled from the nooks and loins of my groins
when my body crawled out and out,
out of itself.

About the Author
Emily Hyland’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Apple Valley Review, armarolla, Belle Ombre, Belletrist Magazine, The Brooklyn Review, The Conglomerate, Free State Review, Mount Hope Magazine, Neologism Poetry Journal, Sixfold, Palette Poetry, The Virginia Normal, and Stretching Panties. A restauranteur and English professor from New York City, she received her MFA in poetry and her MA in English education from Brooklyn College. Her cookbook, Emily: The Cookbook, was published by Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, in 2018. She is a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and studies writing with Mirabai Starr at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. Emily is the cofounder of the national restaurant groups Pizza Loves Emily and Emmy Squared Pizza.