Karen An-hwei Lee
A Triptych in Dark Chocolate for Unavenged Hearts
My friend’s spouse of nine years left for a masseuse. Fodder for your poetry, she said, dryly. In silence, I baked a luscious ginger chocolate olive-oil cake.
Grief is rich as chocolate and olives. I mixed the oil, unbleached flour, and the darkest, pure cacao in a tin at the open-air market. Cups of vinegar, cold water.
Richer than the wells of a rejected love, kissed pits of olives, of thousand-year eggs with ammoniac suns bathing in vats of horse urine, aged in urns of ash,
sorrow leavened with cacao pods orbiting the moon. While sap rises in the xylem of maples, a sealed jar of cacao blossoms wails, airless. Sitting in a muddy
kitchen, my friend rails against her fate. This hurts like a pair of scissors opening in her throat. I slice cake and slide it onto a dish. After a pause, she forks
a mouthful, then sighs, no use crying over spilled milk. Get me a glass. Cool this burning sludge of lava cake, six yolks beaten with heavy cream, a spoon’s nocturne
of ginger-chocolate ganache trussed in velvet, mousse cake richer than gravity itself, than the darkest topsoil in northern forests, than the solanaceous nightshades,
than glowing skins of aubergines or ground cherries — gooseberries, Chinese lanterns — and of a frightfully young belladonna who took her spouse of nine years.