Joy of Cooking
I did a lot of hunting for the joy
those first few years I was married,
when I was still trying to cook. Joy
was not in the index. Larks were,
litchis, woodchucks, königsberger klops,
when all I was looking for was supper,
flipping through the pages, my anxiety
mounting. Allow the turtle to cool
on its back. Bananas in blankets?
Kidneys en brochette? The authors'
admonitory purr (evisceration need not
be a messy job) is marred with frantic-
looking spills. My notes, in faint pencil:
"Pan too small." "Egg curdled." "Awful!"
Stuffed boar's head (with eyes, teeth
and brains intact)? Helpful instructions
for skinning a rabbit, skinning a squirrel.
My ex-husband's notes, in darker,
more confident pencil, are preserved,
and a speck of green pepper from 1982.
I'll never try cockscombs skinned
and fried, but it's good to know
what to do with a peccary (immediately
after killing, remove the musk glands),
that bear, like pork, can carry trichinosis,
that if necessity ever forces me to eat
a crow it must be parblanched first,
that, as I learned one February day,
carob fudge "burns easily but even burnt
it tastes all right (if you're desperate)."