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Roger Pfingston

Roger Pfingston is the recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and two PEN Syndicated Fiction Awards. He has poems in recent issues of Innisfree Poetry Journal, Tipton Poetry Journal, American Journal of Poetry, I-70 Review, South 85 Journal, and Midwest Review. His latest chapbook, What’s Given, is available from Kattywompus Press.

What Else She Knows

The Kroger butcher—a woman
of jolly demeanor and netted hair—
taught me another meaning
of crown today when I said I’d like
a five- or six-inch piece of salmon
cut from the wide end. As she slid
the pink slab off its tray and held it up,
glistening against her stained apron,
she said you mean from the crown
and not the tail? I guess I do, I said,
puzzled, and then thanked her
as she cut, weighed, and wrapped,
thanked her, too, for the moment
that led an hour later to my
digital dictionary where I found
a treasure of polysemic spinoffs,
sixteen in all from top to serac,
though nothing specific to salmon.
But I trust this woman, the meat-
counter between us a raw display
that left me wondering what else
she knows—beef, pork, lamb and veal—
as I turned down Aisle 8 for a white
wine worthy of the crown in my cart.

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