WHEN I COOK
This poem is by Oeil Jumratsilpa, a London-based copywriter who loves to read, paint and cook. Illustration by Eric Chow
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 hands
– 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, rapping
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, a 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.
When I Cook is from The Nostalgia Issue – Issue 22. Order your copy here
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