Sweet Tooth

by Claire Van Winkle



The excesses of New York dining have reached the depths of decadence….People who don’t mind defecating $500 worth of food are offensive enough, but I can at least accept that people are free to lay waste to money as they see fit, so long as I don’t pay the bill. But if hummingbirds were slaughtered for some silly delicacy, then that affects us all.

–on hummingbird tongues rumored to have been served at the grand opening gala of L’Impero, New York


The sweet, sticky sauce
had notes of wisteria
and honeysuckle,

and paired nicely with
the ’96 Ruinart
Brut Rosé. And yet

the hummingbird tongues
left something to be desired;
it was romantic

to nibble on that
sweet meat, but I couldn’t shake
the thought that somewhere

in some back kitchen
a butcher’s block was heaped high
with tiny wishbones.



Claire Van Winkle received her BA at New York University and completed her MFA at Queens College, where she studied poetry writing and literary translation. She currently teaches grammar, composition, creative writing, and literature at CUNY and SUNY. She is the founder of the Rockaway Writers’ Workshop. She also runs writing therapy groups at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Her poetry appears in publications including The American Journal of Poetry, Poor Yorick, No Dear, The Thieving Magpie, Three Line Poetry, Sixfold, and anthologies by Rogue Scholars and Black Lawrence Press. Her literary essays and translation reviews have been featured in Belle Ombre, Three Percent, and Prometheus Dreaming. Her poems will also appear in Oddville Press’s forthcoming winter publication. She has been the recipient of several honors including the inaugural Queens College Foundation Scholarship for Poetry Writing and Literary Translation, an American Literary Translators Association Travel Fellowship, an American Academy of Poets award, the Mary M. Fay Poetry Award, and the Lenore Lipstein Memorial Prize for Formal Poetry.

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