March 7, 2011

David Cazden

THE JOY OF COOKING SCHOOL

She was involved in complexities of shallots.
He peeled thin skins, parting a garlic clove
like a dancer’s pale shoes.
Breaktime they spooned milk froth
over espressos.

Their talk was euphoric,
young faces flushed
Renoir-red
in the spirals of steam.

They wondered where it would lead,
the smearing of flour
into the fat of a lamb,
the coaxing of spices

into a quiche.
Then graduation:
hair wilted with oil
tucked into apprentice chef’s caps.
They toiled in a stainless steel kitchen,
coming home late, heavy headed.

At night they learned to be young again-
spilled food on the floor,
laughed when they broke
a capon’s hollow bones
or cracked eggs in a pan

into the mad hours,
with nothing better to do
than beat cream into peaks,
let shy thyme and dill
grow amorous under the moon.

from Rattle #17, Summer 2002