japanese curry restaurant poetry

Restaurant Poetry: Volcano Curry

 

RESTAURANT POETRY: Volcano Curry
by Annelies Zijderveld

 

When the coming blanket of fog buffets the sky

like stallions set to flight, an awakening begins

to rise and rumble in my stomach with insistence.

 

Off we go in search of something hot to head off

the chill that clings to all of our corners. In search

of a Volcano we depart, determined to quash the grey

skies enveloping us in their cold kiss. Upon opening

the door, a rush of heat sweeps us.  You are rote and

 

I am trite- we recall our orders easily from memory,

“Hot chicken katsu curry with noodles, zucchini

and extra fukujinzuke” tumbles out like a preamble

or perhaps instead “Hot original curry with eggplant”

makes its way from my mouth into an order written

at the register.  Then the server looks from me to you:

 

“Volcano tomato chicken curry with rice,” you chirp,

your voice escalating in a salivating salutation of

to-go bowls and boxes brimming with our chosen

ingredients. She begins to close the order, as you add,

“Throw in a potato and onion croquette,” expectedly.

 

As we wait our order to be called, we sit and marvel

at the packed restaurant, the broad white plates with

curry that swims to the outer edges and punches the air.

 

I try to sneak peeks into the cordoned off area,

through the curtained door to glimpse ingredients

in symphony, instead I catch the cooks’ music:

 

the tall lean bodies working the line- this one plays

his instrument and thumps a bowl of rice down on

a plate. Another spoons zucchini on the rice, then

passes the plate to a guy waiting, spoon raised as

a slick brown sauce hits the surface, boiled potatoes

and carrots bobbing up against fukujinzuke pickles.

 

She calls our name. We rise in anticipation of sinking

our chopsticks into the curly crunchy mess and begin

our way home, the curry redolent of hot spice and apple.

 

Roux clings to udon noodles twirling round my hungry

fork. The katsu crunch is slicked with sauce. Somehow

the container is clean, quickly. As sure as the fog will

roll in, we will once again make our way back to Volcano.

Restaurant Poetry Volcano Japanese Curry The Food Poet

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