København | by Rachel Ternes
by Annie Buller
My sister and I visit the Polish deli on the turnpike.
The deli is clean and sparse - we are the only ones here.
We eye pierogi and kielbasa in the cooler but
Though we love them,
We want specialties,
The stuff only native speakers get.
We don’t actually know Polish, though,
So we just point to a jar of rolled something,
Floating in greenish brine --
Olives and meat looking back at us?
The label is incomprehensible --
But it will be an adventure.
Blindly, we eat what we’ve been given
Then return to the jar.
It is filled with sparrows
Halved & pickled
Rolled onto themselves, eyes blacked out
Beaks suddenly visible,
Their organs on display
Woven neatly through their severed bodies.
I throw up again and again and again.
"København" and "Deli Dream" originally appeared in the spring 2013 issue of American Literary Magazine.