Monday
Feb142011

3AM at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack

Tua Chaudhuri




and here’s another broad-minded boy out to make my lips burn
with the hottest deep-fried spices east of the Mississippi.
Two dates in and he feels the need to test my tolerance, watch
me eat, pry each steaming strip loose with fingers and tongue.
Mrs. Andre wanders by with another plate piled high with beans
and bread, talking about how her extra hot sauce will help me find
a God I can pray to. As the boy stares, agape at my hunger, I
remember being caught as a child reaching into the back of mother’s
kitchen cupboard in search of her secret stash of curry powder:
cumin and aniseed, cayenne and red pepper. How I rubbed a finger
full of spice onto my puckered mouth, pressed my lips tightly together,
closed my eyes and prayed for combustion.