My wife boils off the anger
that has brought her to stuff cabbage
well after midnight. The recipe
is ritual, a necessary cleansing of demons.
She grins and steams the leaves
to a wilted, reptilian texture, then adds
shards of onion and crushed garlic
to a mix of ground meat. Her kneading hands
mimic the motion of repeated strangulation.
Somewhere our boss feels
this voodoo working its way
through; skin burning, head pounding,
insides alive and squirming.
Our kitchen is a steamy temple that exhales
a rising condensation that beads the windows
with liquid scales. A second skin of sweat forms
like a mask on her forehead and upper lip.
We sit side by side on the couch
and enjoy this late-hour supper, savoring
the taste of gourmet therapy, with its drizzle of
tomato sauce and garnish of revenge,
hungering for a few bites more.
Fred Shaw lives in Perrysville and waits tables at a well-established eatery in the suburbs. He is a graduate student in Carlow University's MFA program. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. on independent radio, WYEP 91.3 FM.