Kouign Amann

By Ange Mlinko Ange Mlinko
I went to make kouign amann. It sounded Irish
and/or Maghrebi. But it’s Breton, as I can swear
by the blue hydrangea like a cloudy iris

I photographed near Finistère.
And now I’m here in Croton-on-Hudson
trying to remember what was sinister

about the asymmetrical cruets,
swan and cygnet, I thought I heard
—listening under a sweet duvet—

duet. (But do swans vocalize?
Strengthening the pair-bond
while their two pasts together caramelize

the present?) Sinister like Croton’s
name, derived either from a Kitchawanc chief
or Calabria, source of stonemasons

for the dam. The former translates as
“Big Wind,” the second is known
as the birthplace of the school of Pythagoras.

Sinister not knowing if silent esoterics filter
down to our little dam, dreamt of under
sweet sweet down duvets. Bretagne’s off-kilter

menhirs call to our bric-a-brac rock
like names orphaned after the glaciers’ retreat
from Briquebec to Wequetequock.

Source: Poetry (June 2009).


This poem originally appeared in the June 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2009
 Ange  Mlinko


Ange Mlinko is the author of three books, Shoulder Season (Coffee House Press, 2010), Starred Wire (Coffee House Press, 2005), which was a National Poetry Series winner in 2004 and a finalist for the James Laughlin Award, and Matinees (Zoland Books, 1999). In 2009, she won the Randall Jarrell Award in Criticism. Mlinko was born in Philadelphia, and has worked in Brooklyn, Providence, Boston, and Morocco. She has taught poetry at . . .

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SUBJECT Travels & Journeys, Nature, Arts & Sciences

Poetic Terms Terza Rima

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