garlic by stijn nieuwendijk
How to Mend a Relationship
by Rafaella Del Bourgo

You must call and say “I am abject,”
and you must be abject
and tear at your clothes
until they’re shredded.

Make him dinner
while wearing your rags,
dice garlic, the knife rocking
on the cutting board. Say to the garlic,
“You must help me with this,” and it will obey.

When he asks about the mumbling on your plate
explain that you are eating your words
which are quite bitter
and, as you look at him expectantly,

he will hand across a needle
and a spool of thread.

PHOTO: Red garlic by Stijn Nieuwendijk, used by permission.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rafaella Del Bourgo’s writing has appeared in Puerto Del Sol, Rattle, Oberon, Nimrod, and The Bitter Oleander. She has won many awards including the League of Minnesota Poets Prize in 2009. In 2010, she won the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award. She was also the 2010 winner of the Grandmother Earth Poetry Award. In 2012, she won the Paumanok Poetry Award. In 2013, she was the recipient of the Northern Colorado Writers first prize for poetry, and, in 2014, the New Millennium Prize for Poetry. In 2017, she won the Mudfish Poetry Prize and was nominated for the third time for a Pushcart Prize. Her chapbook Inexplicable Business: Poems Domestic and Wild was published by Finishing Line Press. She lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband and cat.