Every time I eat exotic food,
I get weird dreams.
It must be the person
who prepares the meal,
A seasoned cook, perhaps
with soft hands
and stubby fingers
or the sous chef
with a furrowed brow
and a ponytail.
The cook’s life experiences:
fears, family circumstances,
relationships that have gone sour,
successes and failures,
crimes of narrow escape.
Or perhaps those hot love affairs
that have managed to enter my belly
in the form of Swedish meatballs
or a Chinese salad with a sweet vinaigrette.
The food seems to bare the essence
of the cook who prepares it,
as if the person’s blood were circulating
through the Bouillabaisse.
The meal is in my dreams
climbing up a steep wall,
accidentally stepping into
dark, forbidden halls.
As the cook stands over the stove
and tosses the vegetables into a wok,
I could hear his whole life sizzle.
This poem first published in the Scarlet Leaf Review in the March/April 2019 issue.