Chicken Cacciatore

Erin Wong

It starts with a rain of salt and pepper
from fingertip clouds gliding above the chicken
followed by the loud patting of hands
slapping flour onto smooth peach meat

A sauté pan clangs onto the stove
tick tick tick the blue flame slides out
“heat the oil over medium high”
and the powdered chicken breasts and thighs
drop onto the pan
one. by. one
a crescendo of sizzling shhs
that grow
to a livid fortissimo
of clashing keys and cacciatore beats!
a crunchy prelude

Whispery silence calms the pan
as the chicken moves onto a plate by the stove
and dices of bell peppers and onions and garlic
tumble in with a series
of soft tattoos
followed by crimson tomatoes then chicken broth
piquant capers and dried oregano
singing sunny scents
as notes of white wine and song are poured
into the pan and stirred
into a marinade symphony
wafting crisp
fruity melodies into the air

In a murmur of gentle staccatos and bubbling sixteenths
the crisp chicken pieces slip back in
one by one
in a practiced order
and dulcet flavors seep through the crisp shell
infusing the tender meat beneath with a luscious serenade

While the chicken bathes
simmering mezzo tunes from under the aluminum lid
stiff penne rushes into a stock pot of boiling water
with added “salt to taste”
and reaching al dente
they bounce into a colander to drain

A mahogany glass of earthy sangiovese is poured and drained
before the aluminum lid whisks off
releasing a wave of salty vino scherzos
and burbling rhapsodies of fragrant tomatoes that skim the air
to reveal the silky chunks of chicken lounging
in a gradual ritardando
swathed in layers of a languid polonaise

Erin Wong is from New Jersey and is a first year at Brandeis University. She hopes to major in history and neuroscience and is a coxswain for the Brandeis Rowing Team. Her passions include history, reading, and Christmas!