Toe Master of the Sourdough Saloon

amy rea


“You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow –

but the lips have gotta touch the toe.”


It’s a singular calling,

administering the toe

for the sacrament

of the Sourtoe Cocktail.


Rooted in a rum runner’s

amputated frostbitten digit,

necrotized in forbidden liquor,

before Captain Dick discovered it


and created the rite,

the Yukon equivalent of kissing

the Blarney Stone.

I change the salt


weekly, tenderly enshrouding

the talisman in its


until it is summoned


paired, per Yukon Health,

with an 80-proof pour of the pilgrim’s pleasure:

whiskey, rum, tequila, or hearken back

to Captain Dick and go with Yukon Jack.


Tip your head,

sip with care,

until the toe kisses

your lips –


And I can

restore it to its

place of honor, its





Amy Rea is a writer with credits in Homestead Review, Typishly, Bacopa Literary Review, and Picaroon Poetry, among others. She is a long-time Minnesota resident with a fondness for the dark side of things.