Winter 1998 • Vol. XX No. 1 Poetry |

Chicory Seeds

1809, a cool dawn. Jefferson looks out on the blue-eyed fields. Rice-paper light. The letter flares with its secret. He thinks of Culpeper: for "sore eyes that are inflamed" because its eye-blue flowers sleep at night. Milk from its stem means chicory extract "for nurses' breasts that are pained by the abundance of milk." (Preposterous, the old Puritan, though robbing the "proud, insulting, domineering Doctors, whose wits were born five hundred years before themselves," rather pleases him: the London Pharmacopoeia into English for anyone since. The College of Physicians incensed.)   A sweet hot drink that's not coffee, despite the Liverpudlian merchants who ground it up small and made beans. A livid consumer: "The coffee-dealer adulterates his coffee with chicory, to increase his profits, the chicory-dealer adulterates his chicory with Venetian-red, to please the eye of the coffee-dealer; the Venetian-red dealer grinds up his color with b

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What It Cost

By Deanne Lundin

1809, a cool dawn. Jefferson looks out on the blue-eyed fields. Rice-paper light. The letter flares with its secret. He thinks of Culpeper: for "sore eyes that are inflamed" because […]

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