Jay Fai by Robbi Nester

Jay Fai

In Thailand, where the most sublime
cuisine comes from street carts,
she stands over a white-hot wok
clad like a diver in goggles and
close-fitting cap. She could be
any age, although we’re told
she’s in her seventies. At first,
she was a seamstress—tiny stitches,
hems finished off with lace,
proud of her artistry. Later,
she taught herself to cook,
tasting till she got it right.
It’s meticulous attention
that makes her version
of these dishes worth traveling
from another continent
to try. She dreams only
of working, closed her shop
just once: the day that Michelin
awarded her a star. Now
so many want to watch
her cook there’s hardly room
enough for paying customers,
those able to afford a seat,
a plate of drunken noodles,
crab omelet, brown and bursting.


Robbi Nester is the author of four books of poetry and editor of three anthologies. She is a retired college educator and elected member of the Academy of American Poets. Her website is at http://www.RobbiNester.net

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