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Pepper(s)

Cortez reported on the slaughter of 3000 Aztec nobles;
also, that capsicum improved circulation in damaged legs.

In 1347, Gui prayed to the Virgin to save him from plague
but fleas were like coarse ground pepper on his sausage legs.

Alaric in 410 demanded not just gold and silver from Rome,
but pepper, and proceeded to string up hostages by their legs.

Riot control in shogun Japan included fine, ground pepper
blown through rice paper packages, and then broken legs.

At the annual pepper festival in Motta di Costigliole in Italy,
beauty-queens bunch peppers up on stage between their legs.

 

Eggs

This author’s decades in therapy—not human condition:
the source of his sadness and anxiety goes back to the egg.

On the grainy PETA video snuck out of the poultry farm,
the real game begins with a chicken, not baseball bat hitting eggs.

How do we prevent salmonella outbreaks? the federal inspector repeats
into his mic, then admits that his agency can’t keep track of eggs.

In the televised rape case of a powerful political family’s nephew,
the victim takes the stand: her face on screen is a blacked-out egg.

After my wife’s sonogram cancer screening, she can’t stop talking:
this time, the baton goes inside her (at sixty, her ovaries lack eggs).

 

Stephen Gibson is the author of five poetry collections, Paradise (Miller Williams prize finalist, University of Arkansas Press), Frescoes (Lost Horse Press book prize), Masaccio’s Expulsion (MARGIE/Intuit House book prize), and Rorschach Art (Red Hen). His forthcoming collection, Rorschach Art Too, last month won the 2014 Donald Justice Poetry Prize.

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