Poetry: “Three Cloves of Garlic”, Featuring Image: “Lion Chops”

Three Cloves of Garlic 


The members of the allium 

family remained whole, 

its Gilroy roots still bonded together, 

hidden underneath the dry soil 

along the narrow highway 

but the Romeros lost a 6-year old, 

standing 4ft tall, a chubby 

cheeked smile, and as an arid 

light breeze blew through 

the festive food court, 

a grandmother wept 

at what might have been 

and a mother’s grief spilling 

onto the sidewalk outside 

the hospital walls. 


It is an ancient bulbous vegetable, 

easy to grow and requires very little 

space, offset now from the darkened 

expansive imagination of a 13-year-old dreamer, 

a baby’s life now without an older sister, 

brushing her long black hair 

as Mama peels back the flakey skins, 

mincing its flavor into Monday night’s 

chicken dinner, now with one ingredient 

missing, and Papi sits back, tears 

gathering, while futbol, like his mind, 

is televised miles and miles away. 


Each will multiply in the ground, forming 

a new bulb of up to 10 cloves, 

as 60 separate rounds spilled out, 

maiming him lifeless, while his father 

holds his son’s biology degree close 

to his heart, remembering 

his 25-year-old’s love of humanity 

and studying life’s interactions 

but now not understanding its hate 

for one another. 


Love, like garlic, 

is eternal, it grows 

from individuals, broken 

off from a whole. 

It tastes enticing, always blended 

like flavoring in a recipe and between 

each other. It hugs us around our waists 

and in about a searing oiled pan. 

Its aroma drifting throughout our lives, 

remembering those moments, 

like the light scent 

on our fingers, 

…days later.


Written By: Vincent Calvarese 

About the Author: As a writer and visual artist, he found his wings amongst his heroes of Eureka Valley. Using the San Francisco Bay Area as his canvas, he highlights themes of restorative justice in The Final Visit, familial pain in The Flesh of the Father, gun violence in Three Cloves of Garlic, the pharmaceutical crisis in The Clipboard and the gentrifying 7×7 plain in The Slanted Winds Down Guerrero Street. He is a past General and Poetry Editor for Forum Magazine.

LION CHOPS_Visual Arts_Photography.jpg

Visual Art “Lion Chops” By: Victor Turks

About the Artist: Growing up in San Francisco, Victor Turks attended locale schools. His writing has appeared in the SF Chronicle and the Examiner featured his story about the first-ever Rolling Stones concert in Moscow. Victor presently teaches ESL at City College.


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