Poem about a bay leaf

Marguerite Sheffer

Open the cattle gate, push, pick
one young green bay leaf from
eye-level in the gaining woods.

Raise this leaf to your nose, find it
dizzying: warm spike & chill breath
from sudden cracks along spine-stiff veins.

Bend and pinch this leaf, slip
it down to the seam of your pocket and
there, slide slime under your fingernail.

Of the fresh leaves, one quarter-piece supposed
enough to season the whole pot;
only, remember to set aside,

Else sharp edge will slice soft tongue
Hand to mouth upon swallow.

New Year’s Day, 2018
Marguerite Sheffer is a writer and educator living in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is pursuing an MFA at Randolph College. You can find her on twitter @mlensheffer.