The buds are harvested before their hour,
Then must be steamed or boiled before they yield
The tongue-like sepals with their toothsome bracts
Attached to the receptacle, or heart,
That stores the petals of the future flower.

Your mother will instruct you how to score
Each fleshy leaf between your teeth until
You reach the inmost flimsy purple tent
Tethered around the terminated thistle,
Which nestles neatly in the meaty core.

She’ll use her knife to sever and excise
The petal-bristles from their concave bed,
Explaining that they’re in the way, and that
They’re called the choke, and you must never eat them,
Nor let them keep you from the savory prize.

Because you know your mother wouldn’t trick you,
And life (so far) has not been dangerous,
You dip the gutted heart in melted butter
And gird your novice tongue for the unknown.
When you want more, she offers you her own.

Articles by Leslie Monsour

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