Imagine our delight to find poems by Kelly Fiore in our poetry submission inbox! She is, of course, the author of the smart, complex YA romances “Taste Test” and “Just Like The Movies.” Her upcoming “Thicker Than Water,” on shelves January 2016, promises to be darker but to stay true to Kelly’s engaging prose and strong characterization. We’re so happy to publish a sample of her equally engaging (and hunger-inducing!) poetry here!
By Kelly Fiore
Doctor Cacophony and the Infamous Dyn of Discord
for norton juster
I’ve been wondering for a while now
where to find your recipes
and how to begin.
You had too much in bottles for me
to assume it happened without mixing.
But, there is a difference, right?
Between your concoction and witches’ brews?
Because we don’t need ______ ground into
a fine powder, we don’t need chanting.
The best part of Juster’s book:
bass drum tumbleweeds, loud tinctures.
The thing I thought was, “What is the glass
made of?” & “It holds something
sizeless & somehow huge.”
I’d dunk the bottle
in lavender water and smooth
spearmint oil on the lip – a coaxing.
What do you use – force or friction?
Smell of rubber and tar,
it lingers after the laying.
Tread-marks last longest.
The squeal and screech
just move away from the scene—
to you, everything but noise is a scapegoat.
So, my question is, what is the expiration date
for all of these distillations – the ones that line the door?
Is the draft harmful? How do you
keep track of all the colors bordering the sill?
There must be a guide for the way
you catalog, more than just our voices
and the sound they provide us,
more than one chapter in one book.
½ C. pumpkin seeds
½ C. raw peanuts
½ C. salted sunflower seeds
1 C. almonds, blanched
1 C. some other small pod
Salt to taste
A shake. A jar. A long trip.
I didn’t think I remembered.
I mean, of course: Renaissance
Festival, Children’s Theater, Kennedy
Center. But the center of these,
a core that is less photograph,
more ice cream, only came with
We went to Williamsburg, and the cheese steak
was lovely, but what will really explain
my love of food and where it began
is my grandfather’s kitchen –
cold bagels with cheap margarine,
unsalted peanut butter on graham crackers,
and a custom nut mix jarred in glass
like a cure.
The spoon bread was fine.
The lentil soup was not.
And you must realize I’m not
mentioning holiday meals.
This is breakfast: refrigerated bread
iced with unmelting butter,
crumbling under my bite.
I have never liked graham in any form.
But I loved the seeds, the nuts –
the way they popped against my gums,
spurting tiny pockets of oil like a surprise.
The salt drying my tongue.
The hulls wrapped around my teeth.
Think of it this way –
I started loving my mouth
and what it could do
because of a handful:
that challenging kernel
and something to crack.
I want what’s inside,
always, for the taste.
Keeping in Touch
We made small mud pies
in snail shells at Kemptown Park:
Follow the Queen, Yellow Belly,
Inchworm – we made up games
that began from some other games.
Tiny gashes on your arms
from rolling in the grass.
Bug bites. Dizziness.
Even childhood has side effects.
Now, it’s something different.
At sixteen, sitting beneath
the basketball hoop, we chalked promises
to one another, as though this
was the most appropriate
or permanent way to make assurances,
a faded yellow icing layered over gravely pavement.
This isn’t about how we feel, she insisted,
at least not now.
It’s a way to be sure we’ll remain
how we are today.
And I thought, tie-dyed?
And she said, talking.
Kelly Fiore has a BA in English from Salisbury University and an MFA in Poetry from West Virginia University. Her poetry has appeared in Small Spiral Notebook, Samzidada, Mid Atlantic Review, Connotation Press, and the Grolier Annual Review. She is the author of the young adult novels “Taste Test” and “Just Like the Movies,” both from Bloomsbury USA, and the forthcoming “Thicker Than Water” from HarperTeen in Winter 2016. When Kelly isn’t writing, she teaches college composition and loves cats, Def Leppard, and spending time with her son.