Paul Archer - photo Paul Archer - poet, translator



Rhubarb Kissel

Two sets of handwriting:
One, firm, functional,
The other, cursive ornate.
Tuesday: Rump steak with chips,
Rum chocolate mouse.
My sort of cooking.
Thursday: Ham souffle, buttered parsnips,
Rhubarb Kissel.
I'll have to look up Kissel.
Under each entry, the cook's initial,
And the budget: 75p, 45p.
You can tell how long ago it was.
My God, thirty years have passed
Since that first house, first kitchen,
First meals, each an adventure
Even when ordinary like
Sunday: Roast chicken with bread sauce,
Strawberry trifle.
Now the entries get shorter,
Some are deleted
In a hasty crossing out. Then a note:
"For one".
Days get missed
And the last comes
Halfway through the notebook:
Beef hotpot, apple pie.
Knowing what happened, I'm willing to bet
That wasn't eaten with much relish...
Knowing what happened when
Poison scurried through veins
Numbed with lost love - and the feverish
Brain, so hot it melted. Oh
It seemed endless then, but is now
Fleeting and easily dismissed, fading
Into wondering what loved one
Eagerly sits down at her table tonight
As she presents her carefully prepared meal?
Maybe I taught her some recipes,
I'd like to think I did,
Yes, I'd like that.

And here's the recipe for Rhubarb Kissel if you'd like to try it.

© Paul Archer - All Rights Reserved