Please Bless Us, Colonel Sanders

Two poems about food and family by Stine An

KFC box in the grass

Please Bless Us, Colonel Sanders

KFC, or the taste of success is—wait for it—tender on the outside, tough on the inside

 Birmingham
 Heart of Dixie
 Winter March
 Superstorm 1993

 Were we between
 homes? Piecemeal
 family packed into
 North American

 green four-door
 Pontiac parked in
 the swirl of cold
 bundled together

 Dad fed the engine
 set to burn gas paid
 with lesser Washingtons
 who was there with

 the five of us? Colonel
 Sanders visited in
 his pressure-fryer
 bucket to bless us

 with a secret incense
 of eleven herbs and
 spices wrapping up
 a good paper meal

 for a Korean household
 christened again in
 the name of chicken
 new snow people

 biting into crisp
 country Southern
 hospitality to melt
 water crystals

 We wasted nothing
 even without power
 waited for the gravy
 train not knowing

 what it meant to live
 like it’s all gravy we
 were warm enough
 eating our laughs

 one at a time
 piling up joy
 an avalanche
 to remember 

Real Imitation Crab Meat

 you, semipelagic, you, 
           schooling, you, bering sea spawn
                     you, low-value, you, 
                               chum, you, product,
                                         you, imitation, you, 
                                                   water-logged luxury
  
  
                                                             short-lived species,
                                                                     storms serve you well
  
  
                        hunger gatherer, 
                                  get big while you
                                            can for the lean years
  
  
 muscle pounded into a fine gel that can hold itself, 
            chuck sugar over your left shoulder to fast-forward centuries to glaciate
                    in the name of scale and shelf life expectancy of my crab-flavored flesh
  
  
             i dream of my other bodies:
                    myeongtae (living)
                    saengtae (fresh caught)
                    dongtae (ice bound)
                    bugeo (air dried)
                    hwangtae (freeze dried)
                    nogari (dried while young)
                    kodari (semi-dried young)
                    and my pickled roe (myeongnanjeot)
                    and my pickled guts (changnanjeot) 
  
  
                         i’ve become a beloved phony fish baloney, 
                         i have no stomach to stomach myself 

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