Ode to Garlic

Poetry by | October 16, 2016

(for Janice)

He doesn’t want you.
Not with your pungent scent
marking the strength
of your personality.
He wants that onion-
head with her pale skin
and purple highlights.
Her sly manipulations
move him to tears,
make him want to
peel back her layers and
save her from herself.
But, you, Garlic, are
your own leading lady.
You don’t need a knight
in armor or Viking
prince or Scot in a kilt,
or any odd alpha male
to carry your burdens.
You are no weakling.
Not you, dear bulbous
heroine of the Kitchen.
You, who saved us from
vampires and toothaches.
Nightingale of the World
Wars, how many heroes
survived thanks to your
antiseptic intervention?
It’s not your loss,
dear Garlic, if he
wants a drama
queen in his life.
Come, let us peel away
your thin, fragile skin.
Crush your cloves
and toss you into
the vat of burning
oil, until you become
the gold that spices up
this bland world.
He may not
want you, but
we appreciate
your virgin sacrifice.


Genevieve Mae Aquino was born in Manila but calls Davao her home. She has a clutch of diplomas in molecular biology and genetics. She was fellow for Poetry in English at several national creative writing workshops. She currently works as a university researcher at the University of the Philippines.

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