Dear Bluestem Readers,

We regret that there was an error in the 2014 print issue of Bluestem. Marilyn Kallet’s poem on page 27, “Kitchen Rag,” should have been printed with an epigraph. Below is the poem as the poet intended. Our sincerest apologies. –Ed.

Kitchen Rag

Que dire de celles qui pourchassent l’obscurité avec leur torchon…
(Vénus Khoury-Ghata)

What to say of those who hunt shadows with a dishrag? Me,
I purchase chicken soup, add garlic, noodles, wine.

If not enlightenment, tradition. I inhale poulet perfume
and the healing art of some phantom Jewish mother

who alchemized poultry. Someone’s Yiddishe Mama stirred that pot,
if not my Southern mom. If I inhale vapors of chicken,

L’Chaim stirs me. Though poems adore the flavor of obscurity,
they will not thrive there, not in Villon’s freezing attic, nor in poor

Baudelaire’s. Someone with humid breath must be reading them,
strolling through the village with a volume of Lamartine under an arm,

or hunched inside ancient walls with her laptop stealing wi fi—then
her songs have half a chance of being born, finding someone

else’s eyes. Not Rimbaud’s, those of another young poet
who yearns to escape his tidy village, military parades,

grizzled Vets and Girl Guides. He will transport my verses like a torch
into Paris, into his thoughts and heart, into his well-toned body.

That’s another histoire. For the moment,
chicken soup begs to simmer, and I will not leave the gas lit

without striking a match. Back off, Sylvia!
Too late to die young, pointless to

towel down ragged,
                                                                                  indifferent shades.