Poems by Rikki Santer

“Vegan Dreams of Meat”
            By Rikki Santer

From the cabin we watch a wide
waterfall on the lip of our property
spill and spill its blood of red clay.
A hard rain has fallen all day.
Around the dinner table my father
and mother now decades dead
join us for a rib roast that I think
I’ve left too long in the oven.  I reach
for plates from the cupboard,  a stack
there instead of mother’s Desert
Rose china.  The carving knife slides
through generous layers of fat.  No peas,
or carrots, or roasted potatoes to accompany,
just plump and juicy muscle that slips
obediently from its bones that I pass
to my smiling parents as the scene
dissolves out of focus, held hostage
by steam, the salt.

“Uncle Max’s Deli”
            By Rikki Santer

Amen as we gather beneath the mantle of delicatessen where the Marx Brothers held court in kippered herring barrels and I’ll have what she’s having—a Danny Rose Special with marinara and cream cheese. I scratch at the exfoliation of past before artisanal was deemed artisanal. when his buckling linoleum and commas of grease tagged foot-tall mountains of tender pastrami or humps of chopped liver that bedded down with flirty romaine. How to surf these orbits of memory that spin the halo of my vegan constellation. I am now a distant galaxy away from splayed portions of smoked and salty flesh—this fluorescent-bulbous moon where fat was prized and murder thrived—thick display cases of bulging fish eyes and cow tongues moaning. His deli was a movie set with perfect portions of schmaltz—dried scraps of corned beef in ellipses around the slicer blade—dust balls in the laps of empty front windows—a porcelain cityscape of plates piled high on a steel counter—Formica tables with just the right amount of fade. I ain’t kvetching about this concerto of tradition, this immigrant fusion food I devoured gleefully on Sundays, ignorant of my people’s ruse of secret no-pork sausages during the Inquisition or the thin and sour rutabaga soup of Auschwitz. What sandwich would they name after me now? A feeble union of smoked carrot lox and pureed cashew shmear with a Mogen David martini to wash it all down?

- Rikki Santer’s poetry has appeared in numerous publications both nationally and abroad including Ms. Magazine, Poetry East, Margie, The Journal of American Poetry, Hotel Amerika, Crab Orchard Review, Grimm, Slipstream and The Main Street Rag. Her work has received many honors including five Pushcart and three Ohioana book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her seventh collection, In Pearl Broth, was published this spring by Stubborn Mule Press. She lives in Columbus, Ohio. Please contact her through her website: www.rikkisanter.com

Copyright©2020 by Rikki Santer. All Rights Reserved.