Salt cured fatback
creamy white against
the styrofoam
cold from the refrigerator.
My sister and I
beg a gin and tonic
we watch our Uncle
toss a bit of fat
into an old iron skillet.
Particles float around the room.

On the counter a pile
of shelled shrimp
pink and grey
fresh from the boats
this morning.

Our Uncle is an Uncle George.
When he drinks his gin
he sucks the ice up into his mouth
and spits it back
against the side of the glass.
No one wears shoes.

It’s hot and night
the porch has a screen
we run in and out
the salt pulls at our skin.
Sometimes we lick our elbows.

Uncle George flours a plate
with salt and pepper.
He pours us little gins.
He tosses the shrimp against
the plate and then into the hot fat.
They spit and sizzle
until they release themselves.
They make the house smell like sand.

He calls her Sister
as though
it were her name.


Originally from the United States, Laura Kroetsch lives in Wellington. She attended Shannon Welch’s Iowa Workshop in Poetry at the IIML earlier this year.