Popshot Magazine

When I Cook (Eric Chow)


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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