This poem was selected as a winner of Alan Squire Publishing's April, 2021 National Poetry Month Contest after prompts created by Rose Solari.

You put on music, start up the stove, a flick of gas
and fire. I slice white potatoes, the staple of generations,
the thing that fills bellies, makes hunger flee
even if we can’t stop craving.

You don’t follow recipes, you select
based on instinct, meter out what you need
by eyeing it, by feel, by a taste I do not have.

All I have are yearnings.

You don’t know me well enough to know the things
I want but do not have, or have but do not want, or wanted
but tossed out—onion skin, avocado pit,
what protects or keeps a fruit from rotting.

And what do I know of you? The thing you do not tell me
has a scent, nutty and strong. I don’t ask for much,
not yet anyway. I watch in wonder at how you put together

a pile of odds and ends and make it into art. Then I wonder
when you will feed it to me, when you will take it all apart.

Shuly Xóchitl Cawood

Shuly Xóchitl Cawood has an MFA from Queens University, and her creative writing has been published in places such as The SunBrevity, and The Rumpus, among others. Her poetry collection, Trouble Can Be So Beautiful at the Beginning, won the Adrienne Bond Award for Poetry and was just published by Mercer University Press (2021). She is also the author of the short story collection, A Small Thing to Want (Press 53, 2020), as well as the memoir, The Going and Goodbye (Platypus Press, 2017). You can read more about her writing at

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