Chop, chop, chop. Red peppers in slivers
pile up, under my father’s flying knife
on the scratched, white cutting-board.
Onions fill the room next with their sharp smell,
their light purple layers falling apart
from each other into neat heaps.
Behind my dad, sizzling butter
is skipping around in the black pan,
leaving a bubbling trail behind it.
Crossing the room in sure, long steps,
Dad swings open the fridge’s white door,
plastered with papers and magnets.
He reaches in for the chicken and
behind his back I snatch some pepper.
The slightly sweet, fresh taste fills my mouth
as I watch another kind of rascal
skitter across the floor, a small black ant.
His eyes noticing the tiny insect,
my dad lifts one large foot and brings it down,
barely interrupting his stride towards
the stove. With a hiss, the chicken
begins to cook, sending savory aroma
rushing through the air warmed by the stove.
Turning back to the counter, my dad
swats me away. Laughing, I watch as
his deft hands scoop up vegetables
and tip them into a blue bowl
full of lettuce. He wipes his hands and,
Molly Cavanaugh, June 2005