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Poems You Can Eat: “Unknown Allergy”

by Stephani Cook

“Unknown Allergy”

The first meal that you planned for me—
Fourteenth of February.

Your beard was combed,
Champagne was lots,
The china had no water spots.

The table was set,
You used napkin rolls
And tied your apron with a bow.

Shucking their shells
With delicate force
you sang out every luscious course.

“Here’s the shallot mignonette
Shoot with an oyster
– Don’t forget.”

You held one out in open palm,
A shiny pearled seafood psalm.

I handed back an empty round,
It felt suspicious going down.

“Now the quince paste
And moustarda,
Charcuterie from the farmers market!”

Onward still, it came, the grub;
I grew queasy
Falling more in love.

“Skirt steak,
Chimichurri sauce,
Jicama and carrot slaw.”

Each breath shallower,
Growing unease
With every single consecutive wheeze.

Cradled in the tender throes,
Euphoric still as my throat closed.

Were it not for its briny kiss
I’d dodge this anaphylactic tryst.

Your eyes lovingly laden with fear
I shut mine as the ambulance neared.

Stephani Cook is an FPAN second year that suffers from a shellfish allergy. She spends her free time testing her cooking talents on the palates of her roommates, friends and willing diners. Read more about her on our Meet Our Writers page.

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The Friedman Sprout is a monthly student run newspaper that aims to serve the student population at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, prospective students, and alumni. Our mission is to report on newsworthy information that affects the Friedman community including nutrition research, food policy, internship and volunteer opportunities, as well as school events. Our editorial slant is that of sustainability in food and nutrition.

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