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From the January Issue

MARCUS BALES

Hamlet's Cook's Soliloquy



To soak, or not to soak: that is the question:
Whether 'tis browner in the pan to float on
the slips and slidings of a medium burner
or to fry hard amid a sea of butter,
to carmelize but yet stay soft in the center,
all hot and crunchy-chewy; to fry, sautee,
no, more – and by sauteeing say we end
the gooeyness and the thousand natural oozes
French toast is heir to, 'tis a consummation
devoutly to be wish'd. To fry, sautee,
sautee: perchance to burn: ay, there's the rub;
for in that heated pan what burns may come
when we have turned too high the electric coil
or gaseous flame that makes calamity;
for who would bear the sears and chars and scorches
before the late fork's prong’s turning prod,
the hesitating wrist, the spatula's delay,
who would fingers bare and say ow! ow!
and grunt and suck their heated digits
but that the hope of something left,
the undiscovered middle from which burned
black flakes are rasped, and looks all right,
and makes us rather eat these ones we have
than mix another batch and start again?
Thus laziness makes scrapers of us all;
And thus the naive view of excellence
is sicklied o'er with oh it's good enough,
and meals of great taste and fond enjoyment
with this regard their currents turn awry
and lose the name of breakfast.

 

Not much is known about Marcus Bales except he lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and his poems have not appeared in Poetry or The New Yorker.

 

 

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