Meetup Ugly

Rikki Santer

Home from the produce section with scaly
hides of Jackfruit, the host had snubbed

the Honey Crisps that flashed waxed bodies
in a pyramid of beauty pageant lust. Soon,

under the fluorescent glare of his kitchen, eager
online singles will mingle with steaming platters

of three-legged carrots and chicken toes splayed
for the sucking. Rejection not on this menu. Well-

tempered pig snouts and octopus tentacles puckered
with tiny suckers pose stove-side like a love letter to

the plug-ugly. Hail the blemished, wrinkled, pot-bellied
or too skinny, the crooked neck, misshapen nose and

the lost or the tossed, all rescued for this feast
of meet-upsā€”a curry for courtship, a bienvenue

stew. Turducken, cherpumple, spaghetti sandwich
mashup, chocolate-coated cockroaches that will tickle

any risk-takerā€™s tongue. At the dumpster outside
two euphoric wolfrats roll around with a salami,

its guts all pock-marked and green. Itā€™s the pairing
as much as the practice that makes it a dish.

Rikki Santerā€™s poetry has appeared in numerous publications includingĀ Ms. Magazine, Poetry East, Margie, The Journal of American Poetry, Crab Orchard Review, Grimm, SlipstreamĀ andĀ The Main Street Rag.Ā She has received many awards including Pushcart and Ohioana book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.Ā Ā Her sixth collection,Ā Dodge, Tuck, Roll, was published this fall by Crisis Chronicle Press.Ā