The McKinley Review Magazine

Ode to slow cooking 

By: Claudia Serea | Posted on: August 2018 

Nothing good comes quickly,

the old woman said,

chopping the Holy Trinity

for the pan.


Rushing never made a great stew.


You have to let the parsnip fibers break

and the vertebrae sing.


Let the marrow melt

and dissolve, slowly,

the way water carves limestone

into caves.


Add the ox heart tomatoes later,

and feel the sweetness

when you taste for salt.


Think how far, how long

the peppercorns traveled

from Vietnam

and the Malabar Coast

only to open their small eyes

in your pot.


Add bay leaves,

the chef’s Olympian crown.


Pour a swirl of wine

and taste again

the dark nipples of the grapes

in the seaside wind.


History is there,

and love


with a hint of grass

in the lamb bone.


Claudia Serea’s poems and translations have appeared in Field, New Letters, 5 a.m., Meridian, Gravel, Prairie Schooner,and many others. An eight-time Pushcart Prize and four-time Best of the Net nominee, she is the author of Angels & Beasts (Phoenicia Publishing, 2012), A Dirt Road Hangs From the Sky (8th House Publishing, 2013), To Part Is to Die a Little (Cervena Barva Press, 2015) and Nothing Important Happened Today (Broadstone Books, 2016). Serea is a founding editor of National Translation Month, and she co-hosts The Williams Poetry Readings in Rutherford, NJ. Her latest project is Twoxism, a poetry-photography collaboration blog with Maria Haro.