beaded trout

Red Door on Mott Street

#1

It's raining, not too hard

but too wet for words.


A red door opens and, twenty_one

steps above the low sheen of Mott

Street, someone is cooking for you.


In the kitchen, heady vapor

hisses its chant against the air:

autumn dragon's exhale rising,

pushing the small room to twice

its size and more. Pristine angles

of scallion, patient in their damp,

radiant sharpness, scatter wild

wisdom across the glossy red board.


Not a feast as if for two, but all our line as well_

a whole fish, seared on the gas fire, a whole

chicken, gently turned side to side every

fifteen minutes in water not quite boiling,

shiny bowls piled with glistening, glissando roots

-burdock, lotus, taro, peony, the spindling young

tap shoots of balmy white yam.


I know you know this food is medicine, you say,

But I did not know till now how it is that

Five Tastes tempt the rudderless mind, freed

to hunger at last.

#2

greet me in the long crimson hall

my hand slips like rain

over the sleek hair above your neck

as if it has strayed there in longing always

#3

Above tea, your eyes pool and darken,

sober plums in drunken shadow.


Flavors of ten thousand evenings never

ended gather on my tongue and dissolve

like ancestors glimpsed in cooking smoke.


We drown in a gladness tonight

and shimmer with tender ease

in the coiling tides of Chinatown.

Hing Kwai, older brother, I still hear you

tell me that we are safe as pearls

cast into a sea, deftly eluding harvest,

dressed in Five Tastes glory

for no adornment but our own.


Stephania JT Russell


contents of issue 3

Blessing For the Meal
Indira Allegra

Gracias, Sabás
Brandon Cesmat

Red Door on Mott Street
Stephania JT Russell

Preserves
Howard Miller

windfall
Martin Hinkel

Cooking Stories
Linda Boyden

Table Leavings
Rain Prud'homme_Cranford Gomez

Kabubu Bread
Luke Warm Water

Into The Cauldron of Iron
Lorraine Cathey


Stephania JT Russell Biography

Stephanie JT Russell is a poet, photographer, and author. Her most recent books, The Zen of Small Things, and One Flash of Lightning: A Samurai Path for Living the Moment , can be found at a favorite bookstore or ordreed through Andrews McMeel Publishing and any local bookstore.


Permission to publish poems in this one context was granted by the authors, who unless otherwise specified, hold copyright on these works.