Even if you have the perfect recipe

Five minutes is not enough
                        to pickle papayas
                        and each other—we shouldn’t
                        do this, we’ll need at least
five minutes to peel green skin,
                        fill the room with its scent,
                        move fingertips
                        like a blunt knife, scrape
                        glistening insides,
                        discard what holds us back,
five minutes to wash dirty jars, leave them
                        moist, let mold thrive,
                        ignore appropriate instructions,
                        I am telling you—
five minutes won’t be enough
                        to get us right
                        and ready to be eaten—
                        it will take
five minutes to slice ghost peppers,
                        split sweetness in half, feel
                        the burn on salty skin—we still
                        won’t be done. Yet another
five minutes to crush curry leaves, add salt,
                        toss till arms ache
                        and make us relentlessly
                        sweat till we become the perfect
                        pickle—slamming
                        into each other in fiery
                        brine. But know this—
                        it will take them less than
five minutes to find us, shame us, pour
                        and seal us into separate glass
                        jars, push us deep
                        into the lowest kitchen shelf
                        they can find—where we’ll need
                        a whole lot more than
five minutes to watch each other
                        wither away
                        in vinegar.

Ashwini Bhasi is a bioinformatician and poet living in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She analyzes DNA sequences for disease-causing mutations during the workday and writes poetry at night and on weekends. Her work has been published in Cyclamens and Swords.

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One Response to Even if you have the perfect recipe

  1. Pingback: Even if you have the perfect recipe… – ashwini bhasi

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