by Ellaraine Lockie
I imagined being a gourmet cook when I was newlywed and made Julia Child’s recipe for “Chicken With Forty Cloves of Garlic.” Packed the garlic between and over the poultry pieces in my roasting pan. Popped it in the oven. A perfect company dinner on an afternoon errand day. Julia clearly a practical cook.
I returned rounding the cul-de-sac corner to a reek rivaling the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Garlic gone hysterical in my house a half block away. I tamed the traumatic aromatics with watering eyes and open doors. Barely before guests arrived to dine on a disappeared chicken.
We finally found the bantam buried in a garlic grave. Last rites representing culinary miscalculation. Julia of course incorrect.
Twelve dollars of garlic tossed down the garbage. Garnished with Julia. Where she remained rotting in my opinion. Until Betty Crocker rescued her with a string of semantics. Reeled her right out, clinging to the difference between a clove and a bulb. My culinary conceit decomposed.
PHOTO: Bridal Portrait of Ellaraine Lockie in Bozeman, Montana.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I was first married, I imagined I was a cook, although I’d never cooked a meal. Instead, I spent the summer before my wedding reading books about cooking, thinking that everything can be learned through reading. I knew it all! This poem portrays one of the many fiascos that taught me otherwise. I did finally become proficient with the culinary art, and next year my kitchen companion and recipe book for lactose intolerant people will be published by St. Johann Press.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ellaraine Lockie’s eleventh chapbook, Where the Meadowlark Sings, won the 2014 Encircle Publication’s Chapbook Contest. Her newest collection, Love Me Tender in Midlife, has been released as an internal chapbook in IDES from Silver Birch Press. Other work has received the Women’s National Book Association’s Poetry Prize, Best Individual Collection from Purple Patch magazine in England for Stroking David’s Leg and the San Gabriel Poetry Festival Chapbook Contest win for Red for the Funeral. Ellaraine teaches poetry workshops and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, Lilipoh.
Author photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher.