Livers and Gizzards


Water the secret to these offal

simple recipes, the wet dark blood

soaking the spongy organ no weight

of pungent flavor could hold against

the splatter of angry grease flying

from the roiling clouds of the fryer

like arcing bolts of sear and burn

fusing heat’s tattoo script on skin.

But the muscle of grist softens

in the pressure of steam’s boil

until the whistle valve spits forth

the stinging mist of essence’s stink,

the knot of chew readying its rubber

gravel pop for the willing mouth

through a slow crusted sink and

rise in the surface of the gold bath.

Both wait and wait for that special

tongue, mother wit hungry for half-

or full pints of one, the other, or

sometimes both, transitory crispy

nuggets sweating and drying out

until gut goes to gut or trash, when

what is thrown away is prized or lost.


Photo By: Parée


About Author

Jon Tribble is the managing editor of Crab Orchard Review and the series editor of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry published by Southern Illinois University Press. His poems have appeared in journals and anthologies, including Ploughshares, Poetry, Crazyhorse, Quarterly West, and The Jazz Poetry Anthology. His work was selected as the 2001 winner of the Campbell Corner Poetry Prize from Sarah Lawrence College. He teaches creative writing and literature, and directs undergraduate and graduate students in internships and independent study in editing and literary publishing for the Department of English at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

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