What I remember most is what he did to the couple
who sent his best pasta back to the kitchen,
pronouncing it “too thin.” Capers and kalamata
olives tossed with squid-ink angelhair
—salty, he used to say, as sweat on a black man’s cock.
He said this often, not only to shock:
food should be made with love, and love to him was sweat,
saliva, tears. What do they want from me?
he muttered, adding an egg, more Parmesan, a pint
of heavy cream, and tossed it all together,
the straw-yellow sauce stringy with albumen,
thickened with semen as an afterthought.
Now he is dead. I write the recipe of all
of him that’s still out there in circulation:
tips of fingers and knuckles, pared away to scars
by the big knives, carelessly julienned
together with the root vegetables, the stray chips
of thumbnail, here and there a curled black hair,
spit hissing in a skillet, a drop of blood in the sauce,
the oil of his hand glazing the dough.
© Craig Arnold