“The Joy of Cooking School” by David Cazden

David Cazden


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
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

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