by Amy Katzel
after Natalie Scenters-Zapico
1. When the sun pulls your shade low, when you can’t tell if it’s your belly or throat that hungers—
2. Find your largest pot.
3. Remember, as a girl, you’d practice guitar and the dog would cry, except your parents said he was singing, tea kettle whistle perched at the edge of the living room steps:
4. Fill it with sink water, like rocks filling a pale.
5. Your room, carpet pulsing stereo, liner notes at your thumbs; lyrics like thick soup, but the chords’ harmonies,
6. Those seemed inside you,
7. Girl body running on electric wire—
8. Hold the dry noodles, thick as hay, as dynamite, hold the stack in both hands
a. and break. The break is never clean and that’s
b. the best part, the little twigs that straggle along the burners,
c. hiss of the water,
d. steam on your face.
9. CD cases clacking in your hands, the walls changing shape.
10. No basil, no onion at your careful hand at the cutting board,
11. Instead, string a single, hot tendril high in the air and down into your mouth like a sword swallower
12. —No chopping’s cadence, whole things becoming smaller things,
13. No, your mother’s recipe not so much a recipe as a prayer:
14. How she used to leave the strands to bunch together in the strainer, twisted eucalyptus from the roots, or how she’d pull back
15. Your hair in her hands when you leaned to blow out birthday candles, certain you were capable of catching fire.