Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2011

CURRYING FLAVOUR

by FRANCES BAILLIE

Walking past the Taj
You catch my eye.
Chunkily handsome, facing the door.
Smart suit, scarlet napkin tucked beneath those chins.
 
Against my better judgement I continue to look.
Press myself against the cold glass as
you raise your fork to those ungrateful lips.
 
Your conversation continues, lip-reading made impossible
as your food moves round clockwise
like washing in a Hotpoint.
 
Too dark for a Korma or Passanda.
Probably a luscious Dhansak, deeply delicious.
Tenderest chicken falling off the bone into a blending
of garlic, cumin, turmeric and garam masala.
Aromatic heaven wearing a crown of coriander.
 
I know my Basmati.  I can tell it at a dozen paces.
Each shiny grain an individual, doing its own thing.
A plateful greater than the sum of its parts.
 
The opened door emits an enveloping ribbon
of spicy deliciousness.
Memories of Simla flood my mouth.
 
Too cold out here on the pavement, I venture
into the reeking, roasted-garlic interior.
Your eyes pop as I near your table and
prise that fork from your unworthy hand.
That first exquisite mouthful is indescribable.
The outsider has come in from the cold.

Added: 20.04.2011

Judges' comments on this poem

04.05.2011

I like the wit of this poem, how we're not sure if he/she is more interested in the food than the guy.

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