Photography © Chad Parenteau


COVID Takeout

The green chile chicken stew
detests its plastic container
but survives the long ride home,
a two-minute zap in the microwave,
still grabs you by the throat
and tells you that its chiles
are the real deal,
its chicken really did simmer
all day long in the magic broth.

No such luck with the chile rellenos.
Whether stuffed with melted cheese,
carne asada, or both,
they abhor the styrofoam tray
the way nature abhors a vacuum,
the crisp golden batter of their inception
sucking the moisture out of the confines
of their temporary prison.
They arrive on the plate
as a sad concatenation of flour, water,
salt, lukewarm Anaheims
to remind you that the world
is not as it should be–
that they deserved a quick trip
from fryer to table,
a quick dip in the killer red chile,
and a staccato delivery
to your drooling mouth
as soon and as steadily
as you could handle
their fragrant, steaming goodness.


C. T. Holte was born in Minnesota before color TV. He grew up playing under bridges, along creeks, and in cornfields; went to lots of school; and has had gigs as teacher, peddler, editor, and some less wordy things. He recently migrated to New Mexico and is learning about fiery chiles and sunsets. He tends to write about trees, water, and special people (i.e., his partner, the most beautiful girl in the world!).

Chad Parenteau is Associate Editor of Oddball Magazine.