Candy Melt,
Steak Tartare,
Pickled Tongue

Inga Lea Schmidt

tap here for phone-friendly version

Candy Melt

& it can only get better,      speech slurs
together, pink-dyed            words lie flat boozy
& flood tongue & gloss         coat in unnatural
colors, gaseous licks to those       wax-bottle wings
of icarus, same old sucrose             hubris on a stick,
& paint a licorice-scented magic        marker pastoral
on cellophane tacked up on the           cork board to be

misheard by taste-tester, &                 we know this
flavor, like glitter, like shelter,       like lover, but
bitter, backwater, somewhere     lodged between
drought and deluge in the      syrup-dark center, &
the contest is how many   suckers can you let leak
sour, can you hold past   the point of pucker, eye
saliva tributary twisting  to the final river, fingers

hyper, neck in quiver, liver gone,       & lungs sugar

Steak Tartare

satin warping in dryers these deep-frying times
on frank’s patio where i exchange my soft cheeses
for a peek at a real roasted red pepper genius rib
jitters and butter congealed in his and hers syringes
jack and jill taking heed now yielding to vehicles
to avoid crown kerfuffles enough pam says enough sir
i protest how fast and brutal we nuked the amaretto
turned our backs on the sun-burnt bundt in the oven
ate boilerplates braised in the old brown gravy
our deveined complaints a limp prawn salad rally
ralph jumps french dip fisticuffs how dare you speak
against the grain of a cutting-edge lettuce economy
so again we’ve made the mistake of talking steak sauce
at the table waddle home to goose gossip lick spare
burger from our nubbins never wonder if we ever
should have tried to ration bone draw bloodless
tongues down in our throats and gobble job well done

Pickled Tongue

je ne sais pas the la and eye sure saw
the sycamore bend the bona fide bedding

of dim sum lose some umm but beau just
unless this zeitgeist cook can cook sick
tsk tsk hipster hombre we meme drain milk

and and veni vidi vici some kinky norm
core borscht this bitch i sole the other day

mezzo-forted all up on the ottoman attaboy
gigabyte heat on a guten tag chew like

lathes grace and qué and what is a whopper
a world wide oneself de nada exeunt


HI! it looks like you’re reading this on your phone. Tap on the link to access a phone-friendly version of this piece.



Inga Lea Schmidt holds an MFA from Hollins University, where she served as the Assistant Editor of The Hollins Critic. She was a winner of the 2013 AWP Intro Journals Project Award and the 2015 Enoch Pratt Free Library Poetry Prize. Her poems can be found in Puerto del Sol, Hobart, Gigantic Sequins, and elsewhere. She lives and writes and walks around in Pittsburgh.