Wintzell’s Oyster House - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Wintzell’s Oyster House

Dauphin Street in Mobile, AL is the original home of Wintzell's Oyster House.

Before six seats and a trough of oysters,
before J. Oliver slathers the wall in homespun,
Charles Peters sells squash here, and canned beans;
he sells bed frames & dressers & side tables;
insurance against rising waters;
he sells whatever will send nine daughters and sons
through college. Because in 1891, a black man
can build two stories of clapboard for $2,000,
two blocks from the Creole Fire Station
stocked with fast horses, racetrack rejects,
because the first truck to arrive on the scene
is the only one that gets paid.
Fifty-some years later, a merchant marine
offers West Indies by way of Mobile:
crab lumped, layered in fine-chopped onion
& the kiss of Wesson oil,
& the slap of iced water & how God
means for salad to be served, on a saltine.
This is the last all-wood joint on Dauphin Street.
The secret is in the cider vinegar.
A hundred jaws of minor angels macerate the haul.

An earlier version of this poem appeared in GRAVY,
the Southern Foodways Alliance’s quarterly journal.


About the author

Sandra Beasley

Sandra Beasley is the author of three poetry collections—Count the Waves, I Was the Jukebox, and Theories of Falling—and a memoir, Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life. Honors for her work include a 2015 NEA fellowship, the Center for Book Arts Chapbook Prize, and three DCCAH fellowships. She lives in Washington, D.C., and teaches with the University of Tampa low-residency MFA program. (Photo credit - Milly West) Contact the author.
COMMENT POLICY

HOME / ABOUT / CONTACT / JOIN THE TEAM / TERMS OF SERVICE / PRIVACY POLICY / COMMENT POLICY