Today’s prompt: write your own two-part poem that focuses on a food or type of meal. At some point in the poem, describe the food or meal as if it were a specific kind of person. Give the food/meal at least one line of spoken dialogue.
There’s a lot to be said about the fish head,
some people look askance, you mean
you actually eat that? I tell you,
it’s delicious, cooked in spices
with rice and small potatoes, ghee
dripping as we dig into the brain.
It’s not one for the weak of heart,
if you’re vegetarian, it is certain
to make you retch or gag
at the thought of this cuisine.
The head lies on the block,
cleaved by the bonti**, dead pan eyes
staring at me, accusingly.
“Did you once stop to think?”
Sometimes your words cleave into me
like that bonti** that ploughs the fish head
cut apart through the middle, dead pan eye
looking at me, accusingly. Yes, I am,
I am part of the reason that fish was dragged
from the languid depths of its home
to be served with rice on my plate.
I do not care for fish but I like
the crunchy softness of the eye,
the hard lens at it slips into my mouth,
round and unforgiving. Forgive me but my words
have no intent to beg or grieve, I like eating
that fish head now and again, pull apart
succulent flesh, sucking marrow from the bones,
not thinking from whence it came, or the eyes
staring at me accusingly. Just like you don’t care
that your words often wound me,
And you’d do it again, willingly, unthinkingly
for that extra punch upon your palate.
*A signature Bengali side dish made with a big fish head, rice and potatoes.
** Bonti: a very sharp cutting instrument consisting of a long curved blade on a wooden board which is held down by the foot.
2 Comments Add yours
I have never understood how anyone could like eating the fish head. My mom enjoyed it and she didn’t even care for fish. What a coincidence that you specifically mentioned this in your poem. Your poem revived a memory of my mother. Thank you, Ipsita.
You’re most welcome! Thanks!
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