What I Am In My Kitchen

Yeast rises from nonna’s breadboard
under palm heels coaxing dough. I think mince and mash,
sauté and stew, sift and fold, spatulas and spoons. 

Knives, dependable as good clocks, 
ease through fish and eggs, chop onions
into dice, peppers into rings, meat into slices.

With metal-laced whips, I coax
snowy mounds, foam and froth;
butter and cream evolve into peaks.

Sprinkle and dash, tad and cup, a smidgen, 
I grate and grind, zing zest in air, flip and sift, 
know roux from glaze or simmer.

Ribbons of basil and thyme, snips of rosemary 
slip into sauces with solid support from parsley 
unleashed into the marriage of oil and garlic, 

marination of tarragon and vinegar.  I know
food’s language, the way dill tucks itself
so well into humus, sour cream, or salad,

the ménage of rosemary, sage and savory; cinnamon, 
clove and nutmeg; how hands find their way,
unafraid of cardamom and coriander, fennel and bay. 

I remember mother’s sauces, meringues, melt 
of her teacakes; nonna and her pots, heavy 
and true, her dice of avocado and artichoke 

in salads, her palm measuring salt,  
its immutable truth, its briny clip 
in the mouth, its promise to preserve.  


Reprinted from Dioramas (Mammoth, 2015). Copyright © 2015 by Maryfrances Wagner. Used with permission of the author.