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  • Byerly’s — Fine Foods — 24 Hours, and: An Unsent Letter
  • Jenna Le (bio)

Byerly’s — Fine Foods — 24 Hours

Edina, Minnesota

The aisles were carpeted in oyster-gray, with deepblue edging, and they sold a damn good wild-rice soup.One service that they offered free of charge: they’d snapyour headshot, print it on a card for you to keepinside your pocket. Then, each time you came and whippedit out, they’d gift you with a cookie (chocolate chip).I’d wheedle Mom to take me there on midday trips,feast on the face-sized gooey sweetness while she shopped.

Like Easter eggs—each tidy gray-blue aisle was blippedwith little plastic boxes stocked with recipes, ripefor plucking. First, leave the only home you know and gropeacross the ocean in a holey hull. Wash upsomeplace it’s winter half the year, but where there’s banks,fine stores, good schools. Then wait, wait, for your children’s thanks. [End Page 52]

An Unsent Letter

Dear ——,  Last night, my mother asked me ifI’ll miss it: this New Hampshire town, its fewunhip, unfamous restaurants peripheralto a town green unmown, untended to,all overgrown with weeds and thistle fluff,where apples fall and find no funeral.My reflex was to say my stay was brief,just three years, insufficient time to glueoneself to one’s environment. The stiff,crushed turtle in my driveway last night drewno tear—I didn’t know him—but he lefta bigger bloodstain than seemed possible . . .It lasted just a blink, and yet I livedin this place longer than I lived with you. [End Page 53]

Jenna Le

jenna le is a physician and educator in New York and the author of Six Rivers, from NYQ Books, and A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora, from Indolent Books, second place winner in the Elgin Awards. She was selected by Marilyn Nelson as winner of Poetry By The Sea’s 2019 sonnet competition. Her poetry appears in AGNI, Poet Lore, and West Branch. *



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