It’s inauguration day. Instead of watching the ceremony, I go to our local seafood market where they have a special on fresh salmon. I go to the grocery store for heads of cauliflower and broccoli. The bakery for baklava and sfogliatelle. A meal for the whole family.

I baste the salmon in a mix of olive oil, lemon zest and chopped garlic. Lightly steam the cauliflower and broccoli, drain and on a baking pan brush with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

Bake together at 400 for 30-40 minutes.

Protein and omega-3 fatty acids. High in fiber, rich in vitamins and minerals. Heart health and disease resistance.

Care and nurturing. Strength. A bit of sweetness. The nutrients we’ll need. An act of resistance.


We have to
protect each other
from each other

We have to
show kindness
in times when
kindness is unwarranted

We have to
decipher the real
from distraction

Take all
necessary action


I wrote that while reading AR Ammons, a poet whose politics, you could say, was nature. A poet who saw in “meaninglessness / our only meaning.” The word “meaning” within “meaninglessness.”


In hopelessness I see our only hope. The word “hope” within “hopelessness.” A duality at the heart of each word I put to paper. The pit and messy pulp of it. An affirmation of faith, a (re)commitment to language—the spiritual experience of it. The power of words to undermine absolute power.


Justin Marks’ books are, You’re Going to Miss Me When You’re Bored, (Barrelhouse Books, 2014) and A Million in Prizes (New Issues, 2009). He is a co-founder of Birds, LLC, an independent poetry press, and lives in Queens, NY with his wife and their son and daughter. For more, go to


featured image via Alfred Lui on Flickr.

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