23/30: PART ONE
by Zachary Caballero
You don’t cook out of love.
You cook out of necessity.
If the body is a temple,
The gospel is grocery shopping.
You cook what you can
depending on what you have
but mostly you cook
because you are hungry
because none of your brothers are home
you are six and alone
the apartment is dark
like the false concept of manhood
Your mom is working late
Your mom has a date
with a man
and your brothers fight
but you are six with nothing in your stomach.
“Close mouths don’t get fed”
assumes food is on the table
Ready to eat
You want to cook, to take
something fresh and
turn it anew with purpose.
Or maybe it’s more simple.
The free lunch at school was too predictable
but at least it’s breakfast, at least it’s lunch.
because your hands have the tendency
to create, the repeated history of
obnoxious disobedience runs
through your bones but
have you ever trusted
a cast-iron skillet
with all your might,
ever felt the quiet organization
of what you want turn soft like
onions sautéed in slow sugar
like the moon moments before total darkness
ever felt the pang of craving
turn you into a creature caught
in the ritual of rising steam,
ever put a plate
in front of a room full of people
feel the silence boil over brilliant
ever see the meal disappear
along with the legacy of growling,
to crawl through bodies without apology
as if the mouth is no place for forgiveness.