Two Poems by Ellen Rowland


A stupid argument and I take it out
on the eggshells, seize them
in the palm of my hand and crush,
tearing the delicate inner lining.
Take it out on the baking chocolate
still in its wrapper. The recipe calls
for finely chopped but I slam the bar instead
again and again against the edge
of the counter. Crush the beaters into
the side of the bowl and whip, whip
a well of furious flour. Rip the baking paper
across the metal teeth edge and begin
the slow rise of regret, begin to fear
the cake will be infused with my ire–
yolks curdled, sugar grained, butter gone bad.
Like the daggered ice crystals that form when
still in water state, are told they are ugly and hated,
worthless and unloved, I worry I have sullied
the crumb, bittered the icing, muddied each layer.
So, before I take the first bite, I say, I’m sorry.
Forgive me. I love you. Both our mouths are full.
It is so, so good.


Endangered Pleasure
(after James Crews)

Add this to my list of small ecstasies:
the way honey creams together
with butter on freshly baked bread,
the innocence of its warm alchemy
as churn, as rise, as breaking down
of simple sugar. I swear, I can taste
the tantra of the hive, the tending to
of queen by drone, the dripping cone,
workers’ legs impossibly laden with
thick pollen, deposited and darned.
This, from the buttercups and purslanes
most would have condemned to the curb
as bothersome weed. This from the common
dandelions we left to riot just for the bees.
An entire patch of golden suns now radiating
as endangered pleasure on my tongue.


Ellen Rowland is the author of two collections of haiku/senryu, Light, Come Gather Me and Blue Seasons, as well as the book Everything I Thought I Knew, essays on living, learning and parenting outside the status quo. Her writing has appeared in numerous literary journals and in several poetry anthologies, most recently The Path to Kindness: Poems of Connection and Joy and Hope is a Group Project. Her debut collection of full-length poems, No Small Thing, is forthcoming from Fernwood Press in 2023. She lives off the grid with her family on an island in Greece. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

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