I try to delight you with artichoke hearts.
Green and armored with pointed bracts and rough stems, these petaled globes are full of possibility. But this offering requires a tricky preparation of stripping, excavation, and boiling.
It’s so much work.
Like loving you.
Dinner is not a success. You complain about a muddy flavor, and grimace when the rigid fibers of choke-meat get stuck in your teeth. We exchange thistled words and push our chairs away.
Abandoned on the counter beside the wreckage of plant innards — of you and me — the artichoke hearts drip butter and lemon and grow cold.
Anneli Matheson’s essay “A Wander Down Dried Seafood Street” was a runner-up in Sweet Lit’s 2020 Flash Essay Contest. One of her favorite projects of all time was co-editing a poetry cookbook titled Feast: Poetry and Recipes for a Full Seating at Dinner (Black Lawrence Press, 2015). Anneli holds an MFA in Creative Writing from City University of Hong Kong and currently lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee.