The Drawer Marked Meats



A bedtime story about Bluebeard
all the wives on meat hooks
then wake up
and the house is dark.

is a gift from mother—
the way she grabbed
our collar bones, said:

get inside. We had the house
to ourselves, kept our eyes
glued to the television set.
Our hearts

we put in the ice box
not like psychopaths but like poets
to preserve the crimson imagery
the slender metaphor

of love and its chambers.
In the middle of the night
we open the door, and the light goes on
when we’re so hungry

and the cold red beating
is all there is to eat.





The author Lisa Allen Ortiz is lying fully clothed in a bathtub reading a book.

Lisa Allen Ortiz is the author of Guide to the Exhibit, winner of the 2016 Perugia Press Prize and two chapbooks: Self Portrait as a Clock and Turns Out. Her poems have appeared in Colorado Review, Zyzzyva, and Beloit Poetry Journal, and have been featured on Verse Daily and in the anthology Best New Poets.

“The Drawer Marked Meats” was originally published in TLR: Refrigerator Mothers, and is retrieved here as part of our Vigil for Mother’s Day, 2022.

More poems by Lisa Allen Ortiz:

Filling Station



Song Bird & Beef Bone