To avoid torching the skewers, soak overnight in water. To guarantee the lean meat tender,
steep in a marinade of vinegar. Too much acid will gray the outer flesh. Temper it
with something sweet: say honey, something grounding: say soy. Add smoke, tomato, or
black pepper. Pepper is a bridge between two flavors. To marry cherry juice to cinnamon, boil
both with whole cloves. Clove of pepper. Clove of garlic. Elephant garlic heart. The language
of the heart is stupid. Inarticulate. It needs tending. Tendon. Time. A night in, sealed.
Before slicing, let rest. So much happens to flesh—its brief time exposed to so much fire.
-- Jan-Henry Gray’s first book, Documents, was chosen by D.A. Powell as the winner of BOA Editions’ 2018 Poulin Poetry Prize. Jan is a Kundiman fellow and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Adelphi University. Born in the Philippines, he grew up in San Francisco and currently lives in Brooklyn.