MD Kerr

Day 1: How to cook panch phoran aloo

Terza rima

Handwritten poem

Listen on SoundCloud: just this poem or the whole NaPoWriMo 2019 playlist


Begin in bed: you’re lying naked. Skim
the restless crisps of ‘Lifestyle’, settle in
to Rayner’s lustful prose and while a dim

idea of breakfast’s building (and of sin),
potatoes creep across your phone. Just read,
relaxed. That’s dinner food. That golden skin

of crusted cubes and half-charred flakes… a bead
of sweat between your breasts, the coffee old…
there’s love, and there’s potatoes. Fierce with need,

you’ll leap and gather spices, early cold
against your soles: nigella, fenugreek,
black mustard, cumin, fennel, drifts of gold

and white, of turmeric and salt; the sleek
satin under peels; the oils rise,
mirage above the pan, the rustling squeak

of pestle grinding mortar (filthy smirk).
You’ll sway, inhaling aromatic dust,
and though for dinner, one might count this work,

this morning’s raw with pleasure. Cover: trust
they’ll cook, untouched, and heat two discs of bread
like duvets for potatoes’ chilli lust,
and finish where you started: bare, in bed.

Thanks to for their prompt to write an instruction poem and Romy Gill for the amazing recipe. Her recipe rhymes less and forgets the bit about starting naked in bed, but in other respects is slightly more precise: Panch phoran aloo.


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