I bought a bunch of Russian kale
at the farmer’s market. I noticed it as I would
a friend who had gone unseen for years—
almost missing it in passing, but having
just the sight of it stop me in my steps—
and in one fluid motion, precipitate my turning
around where I, perhaps, faced a former dance
partner. In gathering its leaves, I found
an alien thing that felt familiar to my touch;
the stems resembling regular kale, only lighter
green, with a streak of silver veining the leaves.
The other distinguishing feature is the broccoli-like
florets that branch out indiscriminately at the base
of the stalks, each one a surprise; and, that taste,
when cooked, like a cross between steamed
fiddleheads and a boiled artichoke heart, with
the consistency of the later. Russian kale is
simple to prepare, and is more than just delicious.
Sauté it in olive oil and garlic, with sweet red
pepper for a few minutes; cover it until it simmers.
Sprinkle it with a dash of kosher salt, and
serve it to yourself, a loved one, a reunited friend.
Wally Swist’s books most recent books include Awakening & Visitation (2020), Evanescence: Selected Poems (2020), and The Bees of the Invisible (2019), all with Shanti Arts Publishing. His forthcoming books are Taking Residence (2021) and Fruit of my Flower: Selected Adaptations & Translations (2022), also with Shanti Arts.