John Milkereit

John Milkereit is a rotating equipment engineer working at an engineering contracting firm in Houston, Texas. His poems have appeared in various literary journals, such as Texas Poetry Calendar and San Pedro River Review. His chapbooks are Home & Away and Paying Admissions (Pudding House Press, 2010). He recently completed a low-residency M.F.A. program in Creative Writing at the Rainier Writing Workshop in Tacoma, Wash. His collection of poems, A Rotating Equipment Engineer is Never Finished, was published March 2015 (Ink Brush Press).


The plan was to eat half an avocado
with an omelet, but I began by plucking
leaves off cilantro stems over the sink,

forgot I placed the avocado
to ripen in a used coffee bag from Mexico
instead of uncovered atop the refrigerator,

and that is why I also washed the baby-
bella mushrooms from a cardboard carton
stored near the red peppers in the crisper drawer.

What egg fantasy would not be complete
without heating extra virgin olive oil?
I asked the stove top, but she said nothing,

and so I chopped organic green onions
clipped on their ends
and even cubed a slice of ham

heated and flipped in the Teflon terrain
of my skillet, my spatula
frenzied in the induction-readied arena.

Sorry, avocado, I even forgot
your history when you were called alligator pear
or even worse by the Aztecs

lost in the scoop of a bigger forest.
Forgive my middle-aged eyes for overlooking
your precious model

of self-containment from your make-shift
habitat and for not realizing the maturity you’ve reached—
the bumpy exterior now slightly giving in

and your flesh underneath bright green
available on a board waiting
for the rapid, undeniable dive of the spoon.