with the photography of Darren Holmes (a tisane is a medicinal tea)

At first I understood balance, measurement of days. I could cook on a boat like I could at home. Mesne thaumaturgy. It wasn’t like going up a mountain, where the pressure of the air changes and suddenly every recipe begins looking like a chemistry exam. Instead, I changed. By the second week, I could no longer find the chicken for the eggs, the forest for the metaphors. My cupboards were too cluttered with leftover accents given to me by kindly local actors. The first disaster came when I tried to whip myself into shape, forgetting how literal my paper-clips essay instructions into similie. A day passed before I could drag myself from bed to prepare a tisane. Another day before I could believe simple movement didn’t require the same dedication as circus contortion. The next week was better. I was jumping at shadows, stepping on edges and peeling back their skins to get to the soft pulp within. They squirm on the tongue, so sure of isolation that they don’t understand you’re eating them with that dash of pink salt, that pinch of ginger and pepper and honey and folk songs.

Polyphemos visited yesterday. His solitary eye licked my face. I flinched and fell in love, my vision obscured by his lawless spit. Dinner was ruined as the stars fell into it, torn from their hollow orbits by the sudden gravity of my invincible passion. Embarrassing, this walk through my fusion seared kitchen to our cracked china bowls. I stood between the stove and the comfortable bleach blonde table, apologizing. This happens every time. Soon, my more ornate cutlery will delicately wince when he comes, troubled by his painfully predictable effect on my mustered years, his shaggy fistfuls of tired wilting flowers.