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Recipe for Success

by Tiffany Lee Brown

                              for jess

three cups wine plus one pill.
a tiny jar of absinthe.

budweiser breakfast.
the breath of salvia.
a coat of dust on your skin entire.

yours may be a cat to stroke,
an ermine coat,
his always-smile or close-knit snore.


the playful hush in the library,
main branch, high ceilings, or
the African pottery in the windows
of that one small gallery between
Sephora and the paper shop,
near the smell of unreachable leathers,
that one small gallery which is never

red stiletto heels.

dahlias falling up from their shadows
on the well-worn coffee table, to
alight slightly dazed in a watery

the weight of steel and crunch of
whistles at your fluorescent gym.
the firm tug of dirt at your
gardenglove fingertips.


or it may be hidden
razorblades and quiet red seeps
on the insides of white thighs.
the accident at work
with the belt sander, the nail
gun, pulling greenchain.

imitating birdcalls
with only your fingers
and wet lonely mouth
in the dark hours of morning.

simmer low
for one hour,
no more.

serve immediately
in a flat dip of a bowl.
garnish with figs,
figs and pure honey.

serves one.
eat hot.
pairs well with a bold chianti,
an oaky Cabernet,
Veuve Clicquot in lead stems.

when it's done,
demand a flambé.
after all you've been through,
you deserve
to set your own table
on fire.

©2002 by Tiffany Lee Brown

Tiffany Lee Brown is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. Editor of the forthcoming Northwest arts, culture, & literature magazine 2 Gyrlz Quarterly, she also edits the webzine Signum. Her fiction and poetry appear or will soon appear in Bust's Guide to the New Girl Order (Penguin), In Our Own Words (MWE), How To Mutate & Take Over the World (Ballantine), and the Clear Cut Press anthology, as well as Bust, The Jitter Review, Sauce*Box, and Pulp. She's been a regular contributor to Bookforum, Venus, and Wired, among other magazines.

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