Aioli requires near-perfect silence.
It won’t withstand the roil
of household noise – footfall,
crockery, speech, slamming doors.
Speak in whispers if you must,
lest the crushed garlic, egg
yolks, salt, and olive oil
fail to mingle drop by drop.
A kiss of lemon juice, perhaps,
to bring the brightness of the sun
into the toil of pestle grinding garlic
on the stone – but lightly, a troubadour’s
caress on strings, like the heady scent
of lavender and loam, or the faint tolling
of an old church bell just faraway enough
to leave the mingling undisturbed.
Another drop – but not quite there;
the labor slow as slants of light,
their languid length across the kitchen wall
a stretching of space and time, the world.
This is the drop, this is the one:
we’ve already come so far.
A whisking full of hope, a pause.
The drop has disappeared from sight.
A new creation now is here
to soak into our eager bread,
to melt over our tongues
like a dollop of poetry,
luxurious and nourishing, with just enough bite.
Cristina Legarda was born in the Philippines and spent her early childhood there before moving to Bethesda, Maryland. She is now a practicing physician in Boston. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in America magazine, Diaspora Baby Blues, Dappled Things, Plainsongs, and FOLIO.