She seldom reads poetry,

so when I saw from behind the couch

shapes on her glowing page

like short-line free verse

followed by, what? a prose poem?

suppressed enthusiasm bubbled forth

and I rushed to her side to read

a recipe.

Hiding disappointment, feigning interest,

as I sat, read, and thought

I saw for the first time this artifact

for what it had been all along:

a script for performance art,

like Yoko Ono's wall of instructions,

ingredients combined with style and joy,

life-sustaining optimism for the future,

realized and evolving

through a series of interpretive performances—

Martha Graham improvising Jules Feiffer —

that culminate in grand presentation,

the audience eating

the essence and the substance of the play,

destroying the production, chewing the scenery,

a vanishing act at best, a wreck

of leftovers strewn about the stage,

the theater dark, but the show going on,

its true venue the palate and mind of the diner,

it's inner value satisfying

the gut, feeding the muscles, moving blood,

as the play takes place in eye, ear, and mind

but lives on in hearts, souls, and memories.

Recipes are not from scratch.

Long did people cook and eat

before they were derived—

the oldest cuneiform

a recipe for beer—

yet they are not about the past.

Like so much else we cook up

recipes' worth is flavors yet to be,

changed, adopted and adapted,

abandoned and rediscovered,

bequeathed and inherited,

the transubstantiation of their scripture

the body of our future.