An Uneven Sestina About Food

Caroline Morris

In response to the twitter prompt, “write a sestina with the words fried, fingers, pot, wing, drive and way”

We don’t believe in eating out; the pot
is filled with roast, it simmers out of the way
so we, on passing by, don’t stick our fingers
into the heat. On special nights we drive
down thirty, getting shrimp and steak and fried
rice. An occasion—not something we wing.

Of course, I’ve housed a honeyed chicken wing,
the Tyson bag in shreds. They had a pot,
betting how many, brains just getting fried
from calculating how I eat this way,
can’t fathom how my shame becomes a drive
for more. I lick the sauce from off my fingers.

Alright, it’s not like I can count by fingers
the meals we didn’t cook. A Casey’s wing
is a common app, we’ve done a Wendy’s drive
through as a treat. But Mom, she loves the pot
or pan or tray above it all; a way
to show us love at home, and it’s pan-fried.

It’s not as though we’re nuts, the fat and fried
and sweet are all familiar to our fingers;
I’m not the only one who finds my way
to the end of a bag or the bone of a chicken wing,
especially when my brother smokes his pot
and needs a snack, which I then have to drive

and get. The smell of pizza fills the drive
back, and my stomach growls for something fried—
just not my brother. I, without the pot,
already crave around the clock, my fingers
gripping the fleshy, pasty skin on the wing
of my arm. I battle weight. I need a way

to see my food anew. I need a way
to lose the symbol, just accept the drive
as human, know a wing is just a wing,
A meal is not a family or fried
humiliation. Food… it moves my fingers,
the pen. A gift that lets me write about a pot.

Respond to one of our prompts on @TheBeaverMag on twitter or to a prompt below for a chance to be our next blog featured poem! Reply directly on social media or send in your work to our email ( with responses to any of our prompts! Here’s some fresh prompts for you to ponder…

  1. Write a cento using a poem from Issue Four (or from the fourth issue of any other online literary magazine you enjoy. Let us know which one if so!)
  2. Write a poem about being in a graveyard where you find your name on the headstone
  3. Write a decapitated sonnet about something familiar and make it as strange and new as possible
  4. Write a prose poem about the happiest things you’ve seen lately. Try to sneak in some sound work within the paragraph–internal rhyme, meter, whatever makes YOU happy 🙂
  5. Write a hermit crab flash piece inhabiting the form of something you’ve come across today (whether it be a receipt, a billboard, a bad tabloid magazine near the grocery store checkout…)

Caroline Morris is an aspiring writer based in the Philadelphia suburbs and currently works as an editor. She received her B.A. in English literature with a concentration in writing at the Catholic University of America. Her work plays with the feminine, the familial, the interpersonal, the psychological, and the physical. Morris has previously been published by Vermilion and Silent Spark Press. She can be found on Twitter @Lean_Writer

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