The Recipe – by Keene Short


In order for this to work
the leaves have to brown and curl
like parchment paper in the oven,
and curve downward and
even then we’re not done, because

in order for this to work,
the leaves have to flatten, moisten,
stretch, like after a workout,
and sleep under white sheets
that last and last and even then, if we dare
to keep reading the recipe of things,

everything has to stop. In order

for this to work (stay with me, now) the snow
has to cover the ground for months and months,
and everything has to remain perfectly still,

like it’s holding onto a great secret,
a surprise party. And in order for that to work,
we have to risk patience. It’s beneath the sheets,
not asleep but dreaming, not dead but unbreathing,

waiting for us to leap on it. It risks return,
and in the order in which this works,
we seize the season the moment it slings itself out.
In order for this to work, we must wait for it
to risk returning to us, to risk us
disorderly and hungry, tripping over time in want,
cooking up hot new ways to disrupt.



Keene Short is a graduate student in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona, where he attempted to give poetry readings for squirrels in the woods. His work has appeared in Burningword Literary Journal, Circa, The Tunnels, and elsewhere. He blogs at

2 thoughts on “The Recipe – by Keene Short

  1. “Like” is not a strong enough commentary. This poet, locked into the frozen Northeast Kingdom of Vermont–land of the fur-bearing trout–is totally blown away by it. I wish I’d written it. Salute!

    Liked by 1 person

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