by Leonard M Hawkes

The last curry I had was with Tatton,
Forty miles deep in the Yellowstone,
The lodge still snowy and dark;
We fumbled to turn on the gas.

A potato, carrot, and onion curry,
Vegetables not unlike these,
And yellow—
This, today, may well be a mix,
But for city lunch, it’s piquant,
It’s curry, it’s warm, and it’s good.

Tatton cut fresh vegetables
Mixed his own spices--
Skill from his Asian religion—
Creamy too, and golden, but husky:
Rich, zesty, with flavors unknown,
(Nuances, overtones, balance)
And he told me of names and of portions
But it all was foreign to me,
And he served it up with a little pork.
We both drank deep from the water
Hauled in a jug from the spring.

Conversation was lively, honest, and free,
And as night darkness settled in,
In lantern light, we spoke of God,
Of loves, of longing, and of life,
And much of repentance, not little of sin.
And with no need for contest,
Nor even conclusion,
“The Book of Mormon is true,” he said.
Despite years and diversions,
We were Brothers at heart—that we knew.

Later we lay on that one large, high bed,
Talking long into the dark.
--Like Ishmael and Queequeg
Sharing warmth ‘gainst Earth’s cold--
I wond’ring, who now was the heathen.

And I ask it again,
As I see the tattoos on the boy
In the booth near me now,
And the world of city lunch
Encircles me with doubts;
I long for the taste of the Wild.
Alone in the city, what I sip now and savor
Is rich mountain curry and fellowship:
Food for the belly served up for the soul
In a kitchen of help, love, and joy.


Author's Note: Lunch at Sabore's in Logan, Utah, and dinner at Camp Loll, Wyoming.

Posted on 09/10/2022
Copyright © 2022 Leonard M Hawkes

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