What the Sous Chef Knows
is the eventual Braille brought on by cut onions – the stick of garlic on skin, and how its husk leaves the bulb like a sheath off her knife. The combination to the meat locker, and how much filet to clean on Wednesday afternoons, that her line cooks are always right no matter what the stiffshirts out front say. She knows how starch in the air can taste like its giver, potato releasing the earth, pasta, broccoli stems – asparagus snaps. How to make the most of the thinnest tuna loin. She knows how to sew her own thumb closed – which dishwasher to let go, which to take home. Timeless dreams of slicing. Cold, solo sheets. The sun on set, cooled outside her restaurant’s back door screen, nothing about it rare, or done well; how to crack an egg in each hand and flick those goddamn shells into that steel sink without even her eyes. Runner-up in the Iowa Review Prize, Jesse Waters is currently a visiting assistant professor at Elizabethtown College. His fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in such journals as 88: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry, The Adirondack Review, The Cortland Review, Cimarron Review, Plainsongs, Magma, Southeast Review and Sycamore Review. Next June he’ll be writer- in-residence for Partners of the Americas in the Bahia region of Brazil.