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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 14: August 2022
Poem: 106 words
By Karen Greenbaum-Maya


When potatoes shoot their poison sprouts, 
I trim them, plant the sprout plus chunk. 
I’ve already prepared their resting place. 
I’ve dug a hole a foot deep, three across, 
lined with a bed of crushed leaves. 
Dirt gets under my broken fingernails. 
You’d think such nails too short to hold any trace 
but they’re too short only for release. 

Squirrels or neighbors 
have poached my tomatoes, 
stripped the plums, swiped the figs, but 
potatoes are hidden underground 
and no one knows to look. 

And splendid potatoes, not many 
but enough for one meal, or two. 
Thin-skinned, tender potatoes, 
solid and still alive. 


Karen Greenbaum-Maya
Issue 14, August 2022

is a retired clinical psychologist, former German major and restaurant reviewer, and a two-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her first full sentence was, “Look at the moon!” Poems have appeared in Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, B O D Y, CHEST, Spillway, and Rappahannock Poetry Review. Her collections include The Book of Knots and Their Untying (Kelsay Books, 2016), and three chapbooks from Kattywompus Press: Burrowing Song (2013), Eggs Satori (2014), and Kafka’s Cat (2019). She is currently working on a collection of poems about her husband’s illness and death of lung cancer in 2018. She co-curates Fourth Sundays, a poetry series in Claremont, California.

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