Land of butter queens and lutefisk,
here spring is a kiss at dawn
before your lover leaves you
with nothing but the sidewalk
to salt.


I lived in Minnesota for two years after college. I think of my Minnesota time as a period of attempts: grad school, a relationship, home ownership. My first year there, I attempted conformity and went to the state fair. There I saw a sculpture of the state’s dairy princess carved entirely out of butter. Her eyes were slippery orange sockets. I was terrified. That same year, I attempted again to eat lutefisk, something I hadn’t thought of since childhood. The salt burned my lips. The gelatinous whitefish was piled so high, after that first burning bite, it slid off my plate and slipped away on the floor. I was sure of it. During my last year of Minnesota time, I co-bought a house with someone who was only co-there. And that was the wrong thing to do. But on icy mornings in early spring while walking outside alone, I’d crust my own square of sidewalk with a layer of salt. I never expected such satisfaction from defrosting concrete.

I wrote this short poem attempt after thinking about my Minnesota time. So much is unsaid. So much is better left unsaid.


Michelle Menting lives in Lincoln, Nebraska. Some of her recent work appears or is forthcoming in Bellingham Review, Quarter After Eight, Silk Road Review, Midwestern Gothic, and The Prose-Poem Project.

'Wherever I was', Anne Marie Rooney

'Twilight Field', Gabriel Fried

'Free Verse', Traci O'Dea