When I cook for you

Here, I say, is my story

On a plate or in a bowl

Soups of fire, budding mountains

Red rings of oily kisses

Stir fries of grey mornings

Under a concrete highway

The wok song, the flame dance

My eyes follow the brown hand

Splash, flick, flip, swirl

A hit of garlic in my nose

A puddle in my mouth

Of my brand-new leather school shoes

A fist in my belly

A golden sweat rolling

Down my spine

Of the car exhaust in the air

Sweet and smoky

Of the heat yellow and thick

Collecting on my skin

Of my mother’s cleaver


On the bird’s eye chillies

The green-grass crunch

A splash of coolness

Here, I am telling you

Of breakfasts gone by

My father

Cutting, scooping, arranging

His plate, his methodology

Of my heartache

How it squeezes

And I can’t breathe

Of a hollowness

Deep clanking in my chest

Of moments I wish

I’d grasped tighter

Of hands

Nut-brown, green veins, gold rings

I long to hold


Here, I say, eat

Nice to meet you

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