is where you place
the sun-dried tomatoes. Too near the surface
they burn, little islands charred
in a sea of gorgonzola. Black olives are best

broken and drowned, as the tomatoes must be,
in a sauce so red one would mistake it
for the blood of Christ, His tender body
rising beneath it, clothed in redeeming

purple robes of nightshade sliced
thin, onions sizzling in Virgin oil,
green as the eyes of the Irish girl
in Confirmation class, years ago,

the one you took for love of bread, the taste
of words spoken after dark. Crushed
garlic stains your fingers enough to make you
blush, while virginal white

mushrooms simmer to perfection. Come,
take the baptismal plunge, the first sip
from the Chianti cup – my palate is cleansed,
my tongue yet wanting.


Poet and photographer, Ronda Broatch is the author of Lake of Fallen Constellations, (MoonPath Press, 2015), Shedding Our Skins, and Some Other Eden, (2005). Seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Ronda is the recipient of an Artist Trust GAP Grant, a May Swenson Poetry Award finalist, and former editor of Crab Creek Review. Her journal publications include Atlanta Review, Masque & Spectacle, Prairie Schooner, Fourteen Hills, Mid-American Review, and Fire On Her Tongue: An Anthology of Contemporary Women’s Poetry (Two Sylvias Press).