Page 19 - Vol. VII #8
P. 19

 How to Make Fried Okra
First, you must grow
the okra. To do so,
you must leave Colorado,
let go of the mountains,
and move in with your Illinois grandparents. You will spend your days in their garden.
back to their roots in a way
you can no longer return. You will still go to those bars
you shouldn’t go to and bask naked in the countryside; nudity will be a freedom you’d never felt in the layers of pine trees
and aspens.
Dirt will begin to feel soft, comforting in your hands
as you learn to write
infant plants onto the soil. For each green sprout that emerges, you say an apology
And then, the okra
will be ready, so Nana
will teach you how to batter
it in egg and meal made
from the corn that lines
the Illinois roads. You will think
of how the motif of stalks almost makes you miss the mountains
until the corn makes way
for silo silhouettes during
the orange dusk of the land.
Then Nana will throw the okra concoction into hot oil. You
will watch the skillet war and wonder if grease hurts less than pendulum hands and gunshot words.
you will never hear. The okra will take time to bloom, so you will play games of Euchre,
go to bars you shouldn’t,
and discover how long
you can submerge yourself in the neighbors’ pool until you nearly taste death. You will not think
of your parents.
The okra flower will then emerge like a billowing, white Victorian gown. You’ll touch the satin
petal only to find your skin
And after you’ve battered
and fried the green vegetable,
you’ll cut into the home-
grown treat to reveal white pearls, and you will not think of your parents.
has transformed from adobe taupe to walnut husk
brown. As the flowers wilt,
you will fold them into the earth,
 DeZeeuw grew up in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado and holds an MFA in Fiction from Western Kentucky University. His writing has appeared in Dream Pop Journal & Press, Windfall, and Lambda Liter- ary. He currently resides in Ottawa, KS, where he is in charge of marketing and inside sales for Loma Vista Nursery.

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