Sunday, July 08, 2007


I remember watching you cook--
you did cook once in awhile,
and it was good, once in awhile--
how it would always fry me when
you’d slice the veg on dinner plates
with knives I made a point of keeping
sharp enough to shave a peach.
I kept my silence at the time
because, after all, you had
a knife in your hand, dulled perhaps,
but good enough for government work.
My Japanese water stones
went paper thin for love of you,
and in truth I came to admire your skill.
You’d lay waste a whole family
of blades with a single stir-fry,
Sabatiers, Solingens, Henckels,
wreck any and all with flair,
then sit with an accomplished air,
fork up what your wok had wrought.
I miss those days of quiet rage,
the coiled suburban rancor, kisses
laced with bitters, salty with spite.
Most of all I miss the taste
of dishes not conceived of by
the weirdest Angelino chef,
the unidentifiable greens,
the ineffable mystery of it all.
Why I should be thinking of these
things now I can’t say.
I must not be getting enough
charcoal nowadays, or maybe
I’ve just lost my edge and miss
the whetters nested in your drawers.


Minx said...

You blade stays sharp, Mr Carver.

me said...

i found you off the minx!

And I must say, nice poem! It reminds me of my mother in a kitchen, except when she's slicing celery like mad and yelling at us we stay a tad out of range [but close enough to dart in and sneak some food]

Absolute Vanilla... (& Atyllah) said...

Oh woe - don't talk to me about kitchen knives and knife sharpening! Frankly, I've decided to keep mine blunted, you have no idea the amount I then manage to save on plasters - and also no one gets bits of finger in their food...

Great poem, as always, John.

Debi said...

Ah - finger food ...

John said...

Yes, Minx, with proper attention.

Me, I try not to get caught off the Minx, but you got me. Thanks.

Atty--the old saw is that a dull knife (or chisel, or gouge)cuts you sooner than a sharp one. Besides, the little fingerbits add a certain something, don't they?

Yes Debi, we try not to be too formal around here. I've always been partial to hors d'oeuvres. And I've just learned the authentic way to eat sushi--loosely rolled, with fingers.