Still Life with Vegetables

Not a tradition. Yet. Or is it
a one-time shot where initial conditions of dirt
(a continuous factor)
and H – 2 – O from the sky combine to produce
magnificent roots that achieve colors like vermilion,
creamy buckskin, and opaque amber.
Colors that I cannot shake,
the firmness of flesh engorged by rain-soaked soil
so that
a carrot eased out of the earth
in a reversal of up not down
just touching it, the pressure of soft fingers—
it snaps like rocks fracturing
far up a valley. I hold
a broken star.

Still life with root vegetables, the image I cradle
more than a recipe—an entire history
food ​fire
roots dug mud-caked with cold feet.

My still-life smells of musky ground and heavy names
like Bull’s Blood and Saint Valery. The beet yields,

knife-cleaved into alternating rings
of white and red. Bleeds a boldness leaching
into iciness of robes, and collars, virgin dresses
and cold marble. Life stilled

no squirming, wiggling or interrogating . . .
the turnip I pull with both hands, wet
and sweet-bitter Russian-rooted Petrowski—
archival as cloth-paper, creamy as antimacassars—

with a knife I cut the flesh—
whack each hunk again and again
into smaller and smaller bits—

like family wealth passed down.



About Katie Eberhart

Katie Eberhart's poems and essays have appeared in Cirque Journal, SAND JOURNAL, and other places. Katie has an MFA in Creative Writing and degrees in geography and economics. She currently lives in Central Oregon where she blogs about nature and literature at
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