April is Poetry Month: To Jacques Pépin by Shanna Compton
From Stacey: “Here’s a terrific poem from Brooklyn-by-way-of-Texas poet Shanna Compton. Many may have read it when it first ran in Gastronomica. Like cream, it quickly rose to the surface where poet Paul Muldoon scooped it up for his Best American Poetry 2005 (Scribner). It is a terrific example of how writing about food so often gives way to something else entirely.”
To Jacques Pépin
with your impeccably clean hands.
Go ahead: Say beutter, instead of butter.
I can take it.
I love your rhapsodies of oil.
You are hypnotic as you pat
a chicken’s rump with your right hand, swirl
your ruby glass in the left.
For a Frenchman,
you are remarkably open
to wines vinted by Californians.
I never intended any innuendo,
but I dream of being food in your kitchen.
Every night I become a perfect tomato,
a parcel of pastry, crimped and tender.
Give me away in a frock of parchment paper. Fold
me in. Slick me a little clarified gold.
– by Shanna Compton (Down Spooky, Winnow Press, 2005)
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(photo: American Public Television)