Friday, April 05, 2002

the cook.

Afternoons spent in front of the stove,
Countless onions simmered with minced bulbs of garlic.
Potatoes grated with basil,
Olive oil drizzled over shallow gratin dishes with bread crumbs.

I watch the news on TV and want to kill.
Clutch butcher knife and grit teeth while scientists
sew shut infant eyes.
I plan raids on oil drills,
but never leave the kitchen...

So I cook.

My dull cleaver chops carrots to tiny pieces,
slams against the ceramic cutting board.
It clatters and bangs for hours,
so loud that no one can hear me swear when
the knife slips and saws off my thumb.
I boil pasta once a week.
The violent roar of a high boil ignites the room,
The steam rolls in my face and blisters skin
as parsnips drain in the colander.

But eyes can't withstand when red onions
are sliced.
They jab at my face and release tears.
Sulfuric acid scorches my cornea every night.
I used to let a food processor do the work,
but now it's my burden.
I have to face those violet membranes when they're
ripped apart by the knife.

I read investigative reports while the marinara sauce simmers and know
what rots behind my closed pantry doors,
I make the vegetable stock and the fried Spanish Paella,
I steam the asparagus and the wilted summer greens.
I rip the hearts out of artichokes and
boil the parasites just to watch them


Cookbooks and TV shows,
Underground manuals and models,
I've read them all.

Flayed the slabs of firm soybean curd and rice tempeh paste while slaughterhouses
Peeled off the skins of tomatoes while the rapists screamed,
I've run from the wraiths of mad cows and trichinosis worms.

But I don't have a choice.
I am the cook.
What else can I do?

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