by Rosalyn Marhatta
You brought a hotplate to your dorm room,
made it the center of epicurean adventure
where the palate was ravished by delight
with curried chicken spiced with toasted cumin
and crushed black cardamom pods
that released the rare and perfect perfumed seeds.
You cooked rice pullao with plumped up raisins,
fried potatoes and cashew nuts,
and told me how the King of Nepal
would dine on this:
a dish created for royalty
and you made it especially for me.
You spun a tale of a tiger
who leaped from a photograph
to kill a king in a locked room
because the king could not escape his fate,
we argued about fate’s inevitability
on our second date.
You led me with your stories
to a land of silk sarees
and husbands who were gods to their wives,
and I touched your curved khukri,
the weapon of the Ghurka warriors
who pushed past fear to deliver death to the enemy.
I shivered in expectation
as your smile spoke to me of promises
yet to come and I dipped my tongue
in exploration of your cuisine
tasting your love, while fate decided
in her own way what was to be.
Author’s Comment: I was in grad school in CT and met a man from Nepal who cooked fabulous food on a hotplate in his dorm room. I knew where Nepal was on a map since I was 12; he made it come alive with his spicy cuisine and stories about his childhood, especially those about his grandfather who learned medicine from a tiger and was court physician to the prime minister of Nepal . (We were married for 20 years.)