Recipe for Spaghetti all’Amatriciana
by Georganne Harmon
from the Italian Period
Do not even put on your apron
unless you do not resist chopping onion
on the soft give of a wooden board,
half-moon rocking, slices even, or unless
you cannot resist the Italian husband who,
with instinct evolved in frescoed kitchens,
knows to an onion bit how it must be done.
No sense starting
if you have bought smoked bacon
and not hog jowl affumicata.
Slice garlic large enough to remove
with slotted spoon. Add these odors—
this fine-diced onion, this pale garlic—
with a flip of the wrist, not a slide
(resistance is everything in art),
to hot olive oil, thick, first press,
imported only from Lucca,
for the Spanish and French
do not know cazzo
about the culture of this gold.
Cube, don’t slice, the jowl, and learn the word
translucent. Onions, sliced with tears,
not cubed, garlic, and that piece of pig
should glow like sweat, a little daylight
shining through, not one second past.
Add Roma pelati, a modicum of these juices.
Resist rush: lower heat, break up tomatoes with a fork—
never a knife (the flavors will be a consistency
wrong, wrong, ruined); simmer, stir, anguish,
while he mops his brow and rests in the comfort
of the six-o’clock news: grim displays
of wife abuse, husband slayings.
If he accuses you of ruining this sauce,
if it sticks a little to the pot, if the wine
you add at the last has a grainy undertaste,
if the spaghetti is a tad past al dente
or poured out a millisecond too soon,
in a plastic colander, not stainless industrial steel,
do not resist: add one more tragedy,
one more police car’s scream,
one more news clip to the mix.
|Georganne Harmon grew up in Nashville,Tennessee, where she now makes her home. Her poems have appeared in various journals, including POEM, Pearl, Slant, New Millennium Writings, Maypop, and others. We Will Have Ghosts, her first collection, was published in 2011. A longtime teacher, she currently conducts writing workshops for young people and adults. Italy, a second homeland to which she returns often, forms a part of her landscape. Photographs by Georganne Harmon.|