Fat Tuesday

Here, the drippings, the left
over fat of the roast: suck it.
Let it coat your throat

as you swallow the flavored
stock, before the season
for transgressions ceases

to exist. Next up forgiveness.
Retribution for the soul.
On our last night together

I want to suck the bones
until marrow shocks
my teeth. Understand,

you can’t do it for me.
Take the forgotten
chunks of simmering

meat because you believe
today no thing matters. You
believe in satisfaction,

life’s guilty pleasures.
Pork shoulder, the skin
of another living and breathing

human being tangled between
sheets, a cool wind. Lord
knows we all fall to our own

desires. Me? I love a little
spice, extra salt. I love the way
the cow’s eyes know

when it’s time for slaughter.
Her filmy gaze, the iris
glossed over imagining

the pain. Pathetic. Scouts
honor, it’ll be worth it.
Belly full. Muscles calm.


        Somewhere in Europe someone is telling the Jews
to list the number of jackets and books and pens and chickens and cameras and bottles
of wine and shoes they own. Even the children count

        their toys. Gift by gift they sit cross-legged,
taking a stroll down memory lane, examining the forgotten playthings of the past. Nostalgia
never lasts: on to the next blue-eyed figurine before the minute passes.

        A few little girls snuggle up to an old favorite: brown bear,
fur knotted with dust. A young man finds a soccer ball under his bed, wipes dirt off the place
where he wrote his name. For a moment he holds it close to his chest.

        These are the moments they promised they’d never forget.
It is too soon to tell who will register or who will spit on the shoulders of the officers in charge.
It is too soon to tell if mothers need to hide the salt and mail

        diamonds overseas, but the fathers are ready.
They remember their fathers’ yellow stars, they have saved the pain of their mothers like recipes.
Take the man reading the newspaper this morning in Kramatorsk,

        soft light sneaking through the single window in his kitchen.
Front door bolted shut. Threats of militia and molotov cocktails. Each story a scent of lies.
Handful of courage, small cup of coffee: this is how we survive.

Abriana Jetté is an internationally published poet, essayist, and educator from Brooklyn, New York. She is the editor of the #3 Amazon best-selling poetry anthology THE BEST EMERGING POETS OF 2013, and her first full length collection of poetry, PINK HOUSES, was a semi-finalist in the ELJ We Will Do Big Things Book Prize. Her work can be found in The Iron Horse Literary Review, The Moth, Poetry Quarterly, and other places. She teaches at St. John’s University and for the City University of New York.