EBT Recipes


Poverty can be sweet, overripe

plums with the bird bites cut out

or donuts made from two-for-one


canned biscuit dough fried in grease

leftover from the Jerusalem artichokes

we plucked from earth like oversized pupae—


I can’t escape my roots because I ate them,

dirt crusted beets that bled

into our finger pads, slivers of carrots


harvested too soon, a bag of unmarked

white powder from the food bank

mom threw away when she couldn’t identify


(We aren’t that poor yet)

and milk could mean a gallon, or boxed chalk

mixed into water.


Now I make guacamole from rotten avocados,

cover limp lettuce with dressing;

wine that turned and smells like raisins


can be used in a soup

and stale bread is perfect

for meatloaf or bread pudding.


That has mold, my husband says.

Cheese is mold, my mother would say.

We’d scrape it out with serrated blades,


the same I use to scrape the pink from my fingers

but blood rises where the stains used to be.

I suck it down. I don’t waste one drop.



Avra Elliott is a writer and toymaker from New Mexico. Her poetry has appeared in The Ilanot Review, and her fiction is forthcoming from Noctua Review and Shadowgraph. Elliott received her MFA in creative writing from Warren Wilson College.