Fillet of soul

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The Delicious Taste of Crab Legs

I must say I come from a horrid taste

When I had olives

I had to get rid of that horrid taste by

Eating some of my mom's delicious crab legs

They were so delicious that I could probably

Celebrate, jump up and down, give my brother

A dozen kisses — even though I don't like him

They were orange and white

Kind of long and kind of short

They were so delicious

They were so delicious that

I can say Delicious 1,000 times

— Adore Bell, fifth-grader at Detroit's Marion Law Academy


First Menudofest (for John Rosalez, 1935-1990)

four women

want to try

warm pansa

the ox says

its powers are


known to

regenerate tired heads

empty stomachs

and heavy hearts

tío juan

el rey del menudo

greets them

with warm tortillas

from hands steadied

by strong heart

and warm pansa

mysteries he shares with the ox


from the pansa of the ox

we are warm

from the pansa of the man

we find love

— Lolita Hernandez, from the chapbook collection, snakecrossing


Triple Tall Sugar-free Cinnamon Dolce Americano

Blessedly delicious

Starbucks' Americano,

your much-needed



this poem.

Your typical drive-thru

ignored: tonight,

   sips occur

next to two

vigorously Christian women

to my left.

Their fervor? Absolute music.


I no longer kneel

at The Christ Club,

I silently

toast them, now.

My white/green cup rises:



this altogether-too-cold



— Heather McMacken


Food Boy

Call me Food Boy.

If you are a crook

you better watch out.

If you don't I'll

turn you into a slice

of ham. Then I'll turn

your blood into pop

and I'll drink you.

If you steal money

or jewelry you are going

to be chocolate cake

with icing. Then I'll turn

your bones into cookies.

— Richard Winston, third-grader at Detroit's Golightly Educational Center


What We Do With the Fish After We Gut the Fish

We eat the fish. Our mother fries up the fish in a cast iron skillet that spits up buttery fish fried grease every time she drops a bread-crumb-battered fish fillet into the pan. We sit at the kitchen table in front of our empty plates and listen to the pop and pizz and sizzle of the frying-up fish. Just yesterday these fish were swimming in the muddy waters of our muddy river and now they are gutted and headless and chopped in half and about to be swallowed into our open mouths, our empty bellies. Our father is outside, in the shed, sharpening his knives. When all the fish have been fried up hard to a crisp- shucked golden-colored brown, our mother will tell us brothers to call in our father to come inside to eat our fish. Fish on, we will tell our father. Come and get them while they're good and hot. Our father comes when us brothers call. Us brothers stand back and watch as our father tracks mud into our mother's kitchen. Our mother tells our father look what you've done. Our father looks down at his muddy boots and says the word mud. Our mother throws up her hands and then she throws the frying pan of fried-up fish at our father. We watch our dirty river fish skid across the kitchen's floor. Our father tells our mother that he and us sons fished for and caught and cleaned out the guts out of those fish. Our mother tells our father that he knows what he can do with those fish. Then she tells us how she hates fish and fish smells, how she hates this dirty, fishy river, how much she hates this fishy, smelly town. Leave, our father says to this. Our mother says maybe she will. They both turn and walk away, our father back outside, our mother into hers and our father's bedroom. Us brothers, we are left with the fish, are left to clean up the mess. We drop down onto our hands and knees, onto the floor, and begin to eat.

— Peter Markus, from the recently reissued Good, Brother


Student poems workshopped by Anita Schmaltz and Peter Markus, InsideOut literary arts program.

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