Murder is commoner among cooks than
members of any other profession.
That first love in France—
one live oyster on a fisherman’s boat.
A child palate of potato, string
cheese turned. What a cook would kill
for now—flamboyantly red
marrow in Singapore stalls,
Ecuadorian goat brain that sizzles
in the cigarette dark streets.
One whole cobra–blood, bile,
its beating heart in white ramekin.
We eat and we become
something hungry. The kabobed meat
blackening on charcoal,
the blown-glass beauty of chocolate
and the roasted sweet of spring onion
in Spain’s high sun
destroys us forever
to the too-dry chickens of our mothers,
their casseroles of frozen broccoli
and turkey cutlet.
And there is nothing
left of us but the urge
something miraculous—stained glass
sushi windows, the snowball perfect
truffle of fresh ricotta,
and all those edible flowers,
nasturtium and zucchini blossom
like butterflies in the sheet
If we kill, it is from desire—
the porcelain fill of bowls with our soups,
the want of something we can hold
to our lips, in our mouths,
Copyright (c) 2018 by Erin Elizabeth Smith. All rights reserved. Erin Elizabeth Smith is the creative director at the Sundress Academy for the Arts and managing editor of Sundress Publications. Her work has appeared in journals like Crab Orchard Review, Ecotone, and Mid-American, and her third full-length collection, Down: The Alice Poems, will be released by Agape Editions in 2019. Smith teaches in the English Department at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she is also the Jack E. Reese Writer in the Library.