Day 29 Recipes

A thyme-tendril pinched saves nine plucked bare
ice down slick weeping salmon corpses
knuckle the knife bare, ballerina
voracious shallots skin cellulose
slip the steel, layers part like letters
potatoes sweat starchy crinolines
the google-eyed smelt grooms wait dully,
eye me, butcher-born at the altar
marriage of salt-sea and loamy earth



Oh, gods! Today’s prompt from is “Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem based on the Plath Poetry Project’s calendar. Simply pick a poem from the calendar, and then write a poem that responds or engages with your chosen Plath poem in some way.”

I imagine Plath’s internal monologue scurried something like my worst anxiety dreams, a carnival barker in striped pants and clown smiles. “Metaphors” -pulled from a Plath collection – struck my fancy, and I was intrigued by the first line “I’m a riddle in nine syllables” setting both the internal question of the poem, but also dictating the line length. Immediately, “a pinch in time saves nine” came to mind, and the pun “a pinch in thyme.” Nine lines, nine syllables each: a recipe, attempting to use some of Plath’s common imagery.

I’m a riddle in nine syllables,
An elephant, a ponderous house,
A melon strolling on two tendrils.
O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!
This loaf’s big with its yeasty rising.
Money’s new-minted in this fat purse.
I’m a means, a stage, a cow in calf.
I’ve eaten a bag of green apples,
Boarded the train there’s no getting off.


6 thoughts on “Day 29 Recipes

  1. Pingback: Day Thirty
  2. Ah! Metaphors! When I saw the challenge/prompt for day 29, I had a dim memory of reading a Plath poem in high school and couldn’t remember what it was for the life of me. As soon as I read the first line “I’m a riddle in nine syllables” I knew. I remember reading it and liking it and then our teacher told us it was about pregnancy and I read it again and I can’t remember what I thought of it.

    But I digress.

    Your poem is an intriguing one and evokes some interesting visions. I’ve read it over a few times and feel that there is something there just beyond my reach. I enjoyed it.


    1. Thank you! When I wrote it I was thinking of the moments in cooking where I’ve lost control – slipping when mincing shallots, and the quick horror when a whole fish is staring dully at me.


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