Poem by Nicholas Friedman

That evening, he plucked zucchini flowers.


The shriveled braids of saffron petals

lined the counter, where one by one


he peeled them back, scooped their stamens,

and plunged them headlong into batter—


then eased a batch into eager oil,

which smoked and sputtered as the blossoms bobbed.


Unraveling the largest flower—

green-veined, plump—he neatly undressed


a honey bee, aroused and confused

by this sudden fiat in a stranger garden.


With a preparatory flick and hum,

the tuneless rattle of onion-skin wings,


it wafted off in drunken loops

and ticked against the windowpanes.


The oil hissed and spat its tacks.

He stopped to sip the breathing wine—


remembering, of course, to level the glasses

drop for drop before she returned.


American Arts Quarterly, Spring 2011, Volume 28, Number 2