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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 14: August 2022
Prose Poem: 235 words
By Alexis Rhone Fancher

How to Eat an Artichoke

—For Steve Engle

Photograph of Artichoke by Alexis Rhone Fancher
Artichoke prepared and photographed by Alexis Rhone Fancher


Look, he said. Eating an artichoke is like eating a woman. He held the barbed vegetable up to the light. See these, he said, pointing to the tough, outer petals, crowned with thorns. Think of them as labia. How, like sentries, they guard the succulent center. I watched him tug downward, severing petals from their source. He dipped each one into a bowl of melted butter, put it between his front teeth, and scraped the tender bottom into his mouth. I watched as he worked his way around the world, tug, dip, nibble. Tug, dip, scrape. And the satisfaction on his face, growing with each denuded petal; petals that grew softer as he worked his way in. Once the barriers have been breeched, pluck the inner petals, he said. I watched him souse them, bring them to his mouth, watched the butter trickle down his chin. Nibble at them, like they’re your girlfriend, he said. Note the pleasure of the pulp in your mouth, the taste of butter and sea salt on your lips. How you tongue your way to the center. When the petals disappear, you must stop and take stock. Note how the furry choke hides the treasure beneath. Spoon it out, little by little, until you’ve revealed the light green center. Go ahead! Cover it with what butter remains, then bite into its heart.



Photograph of artichoke in bloom by Alexis Rhone Fancher
Artichoke in bloom photographed by Alexis Rhone Fancher


—Photographs above are copyrighted © by Alexis Rhone Fancher. All rights reserved. Images are reproduced here with her permission.

Alexis Rhone Fancher’s
Issue 14, August 2022

writing is published in Best American Poetry, Rattle, Hobart, Verse Daily, Plume, Tinderbox, Cleaver, Diode, The American Journal of Poetry, Spillway, Nashville Review, Poetry East, Gargoyle, and elsewhere. She has authored seven poetry collections, most recently Junkie Wife (Moon Tide Press, 2018), The Dead Kid Poems (2019), EROTIC: New & Selected (NYQ Books, 2021), and Stiletto Killer (in Italian) from Edizioni Ensemble, Italia (May 2022).

In the works and forthcoming: BRAZEN, Alexis’s next, full-length erotic book (also to be published by NYQ Books); and DUETS, an illustrated, ekphrastic chapbook collaboration with poet Cynthia Atkins (to be published by Harbor Editions).

Alexis’s photographs are featured worldwide, including the covers of Witness, Spillway, and The Pedestal Magazine, among others. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Daily.



More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Ode to My Husband’s Perfect French, erotic poem in MacQ (Issue 12, March 2022)

Ode to My Husband’s Heart, erotic poem in MacQ (Issue 11, January 2022)

Double-Timed at the Nickel Diner, erotic micro-fiction in MacQ (Issue 5, October 2020)

Erotic works by Alexis Rhone Fancher in KYSO Flash:

Lola the Human Vagina at UC Medical School (Issue 12, Summer 2019)

Why I Almost Forgave You (Perché ti ho quasi perdonato) (Issue 8, August 2017)

I Prefer Pussy (Issue 6, Fall 2016); see also author’s reading of this poem on YouTube (Moon Tide Press, 13 March 2020).

Morning Wood (Issue 2, Winter 2015)

Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera, flash fiction (Issue 2, Winter 2015)

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