Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Shitake Mushrooms

A glance in the glass door
of the stereo cabinet,
and I see you, handsome chef
sautéing mushrooms.

Your hands juggle
sesame oil, sugar, garlic
and pepper mill -- not to mention
the cedar spoon.

I remember when your fingers
held the package of shitakes
and showed me this array
resembling the paper swirl
of umbrellas most women use
to avoid the sun in Asia

I loved the concept;
you adored their taste
and said they would make
the sirloin tips
sizzle with a sultry finesse.

I thought,
float me in that steel wok.
I'll become your hot girl
lazing in the buttery dazzle ,
the onions and spice -- my scent

irresistible and drifting
through your narrow bones, your
trim flesh.

I savored this --- until now
when my eyes water. Something
damp and darkly wooded
rises, musk mingling
With light smoke and the alarmed

look on your face as I rush
into the kitchen coughing,
the smell is strong
way too strong
. You wonder
If we should eat these. Your sinuses
are clogged and can't process odor.

Then, you tell me
they were purchased in Madam Chung's
shop along the ocean front
where the sun drew its bitter slant
of lemon between sea gulls
and oysters gleaming on a fisherman's crate.

She took you inside, the back room
where she stored her specialties
and hunted for the item
while you observed a red urn
atop the closet.

She caught your admiration
and remarked it was an antique
from The Qing Dynasty, a good
place to contain grief and ashes

of a late husband. According to her,
he loved those mushrooms
and a sleek cut of meat ---
a tenderloin beauty.

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