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published in Seam 2007


On cooking with chilli peppers


Itís that dangerous-red-feeling; that tonight,

why not make it hot? thing, and you reach

for that squeaky red leather skinó

that bright-red-slapper-red, like

the red heels you dream of; red

to topple over in; itís the scarlet shine,

red as Hepburnís lips or Marilynís hips

in The Seven Year Itch; oh the Latino cool,

swinging-salsa-red, jalapeno-red,

ostrich feather-red; red that shouts stopó


and that hot fizz when youíre chopping

and sprinkling and stirring, losing it;

thinking: damage. Thinking: Spice thatís not Nice,

makes eyelids burn, nostrils sting, lips numb;

thinking: thatíll shock them; thatíll teach

the mother-in-law to think sheís modern

about food.



Mim Darlington


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