Writer’s Workshop: Kassandra Kelly
Selections from Kassandra Kelly at the writer's retreat at Lee Kelly's studio
Restaurant Mash Note
I loved walking by on Monday and seeing
dirty dishes stacked on the windowsills.
I loved arriving Tuesday to unpack crates of wine,
the place asleep as I vacuumed under the chef’s chair
where she sat all afternoon sipping white rioja,
her water glass briny with fingerprints.
I loved finding her in the kitchen during last seating
talking to the ladle with six orders up.
I loved Wednesdays because the week was under way
And Thursday because it was a little Friday,
And Fridays when customers arrived on time and
Saturdays if they stayed late.
I loved peeling meringue puffs off parchment sheets
and the cooler named Brad after the chef’s boyfriend.
I loved how she worked in her socks and how two waiters
had to heave garbage bags into the Dumpster.
When bums came to the back door, the chef emptied ladles
Of rice into their bare hands. I loved
Telling vegans they could go elsewhere.
The chef warmed a plastic bowl of clarified butter on the stove,
cooked chickens at 500 degrees
and the place never caught on fire. I loved that.
We always had twenty pound blocks of cheese
gallons of whipping cream
a biscuit tin filled with money and
trays of bread steamed in milk.
I loved the way the chef whistled when she was pissed off
and how she garnished plates with whole bunches of parsley
at the end of the night when the rice was pudding.
I loved finally slotting her wine glass
into the dishwasher when the shift was over and how
it emerged looking like all the others again.
And Saturday night, when we finished off the house wine,
packed the extra shrimp for friends and cats
and put our feet up on the tables I loved that too.