top of page

Kitchen Song

A Poem by Christopher Tang

you’re on the cusp of nineteen.

her kitchen is bigger, the summer glow of the cooker light

bathing all four of your hands. you wash the dishes, tap foam

lacing its way between palms you can’t wait to show her. you sit and watch

her glide wine into risotto, bubbling and imagining life here for just

one more day, one more time. you realise that to help someone cook is to allow

both of you to be stressed, to allow pressure – to see yourself as a knife glint

or oven clock, a dangerous pleasure, the scent of garlic on fingertips that never

seems to leave. but that, in and of itself, does not mean kitchens are always future

spaces. it is a moment, a May or June night with cheese cubes and pirated movies,

but lovers and second lovers and enemies have moments all the time.

yet, we will not take second lovers. of course not. how do i know? because in your

kitchen, we bubbled. i left the tap running too long. you told me that’s a waste, the first

time i had seen you be so serious. we fought to never waste anything precious again.

A Statement by Christopher Tang on his process

Memories, like the meals we cook in our kitchens, often disappear much faster than we realise. We spend far too long perfecting every detail, running through each recipe or interaction in our heads, all for them to be consumed in a flash – a fraction of the time the dish, or memory, took to create.


Humans are inherently forgetful. But some things are not so easily forgotten, and even if they were, poetry helps me remember. Some things should never be forgotten, and this moment in my first year of university is both of these.


“Kitchen Song” was created from the idea of a personalised sonnet – one that doesn’t obey convention, rather, one that unravels with its lines, details and intimate moments that play out like a coming-of-age, indie-film scene. Picture the summer warmth of a university kitchen. The cooker light glow. Wine in risotto. Cheese cubes and your best friend.


Not to be overly sentimental, but this is how I fell in love. As each moment breaks traditional forms of a sonnet’s syllable count/rhythm, the poem itself explodes to keep that flashback alive. After all, that’s all a poem should do – help its writer breathe. If it helps a reader do the same, that’s a bonus.


At first, I was terrified of cooking with her. Because she was new, and she was my best friend, and she was quickly becoming more. Kitchens hold pressure. She cooks beautifully – I was afraid my inexperience would reveal itself, but it brought me such joy.


I take it back. I want to be overly sentimental. I want to break every convention of a sonnet, let the details of my love unravel between these lines, stretching each sweet moment until they’re alive again. Memories, and the food we prepare, disappear. But they taste so good; we can’t help but make more. Save them for later. They nourish us, don’t they?

Back to BoundBy: Winter '24 (Edition #07)

bottom of page