It’s in the small acts that we show our love.
The rice soaked,
then washed over and again,
as one would wash the feet of a child.
It’s in the grains counted
by that child, each one a perfect
finger between two larger fingers—
each one sacred as a poem
brought to the mouth.
It’s here that we say love—
in steam and water,
in salt and fingers of rice.
And later, as the father prepares Yellow Chicken—
as he sears the breasts in hot oil,
adding onion and garlic, tumeric and salt,
as he juices the lemon and crushes the saffron
to a fine powder—
he performs one of the greatest acts of love.
It is a love born first
from gypsy caravans
and then carried forward through the body
of his mother who began
each day of his childhood cooking
with the early morning light
because to infuse a home with fragrance
was to cherish the ones she loved.
And the father,
who learned from his mother
that food, like life, is best when balanced
between sweet and sour,
adds butter and brown sugar to plump
the berries only found in his native
country. He adds carrots and more saffron,
broth and heat until the scent rises
like a song. And when the Yellow Chicken
steams on the plates in front of his children—
it is an act of love as simple as the arrival
of the night sky.