This week’s poem is from the 2012 Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award-winning collection Pretty Little Rooms, by Katie Chaple.
My Epicurean Curse
I think of what I’d like to leave you with
when I leave: a long oak table
and rather than me splayed out naked across the top—
I’d like to leave you with monkfish
in parchment, covered with slices of mango,
slender green stalks of chives,
the lace of parsley. I’d like to leave you
with opaque glazes, pastries—anything that means
separating eggs, folding in heavy cream, anything
that demands a delicate turn of the wrist. Mousse and meringues
and brioche, and Andalusian partridge wreathed in figs.
Dishes dotted with raspberries, garnished
with mint, crescents of tangerine.
From then on, when you lift a fork or break open a roll,
you’ll feel something you should remember,
something familiar, a shape that lurks underneath,
that eludes you momentarily, and swallowing, you return
to this body of food, these heaps and curves
of bowls, platters—and for you,
at a quiet corner table, or hovering over an airplane tray,
or tucked in a padded banquet chair, for you,
monkfish will never be the same.