The Chef...A Poem



He has his heads from Africa mounted on the walls

of a house atop a mound, a hill he calls his own.

A chef, life spent in heat before a glowering grill,

searing steaks, hissing at absent-minded waitresses,

amateurs, by day who ski the mountain. He sharply

hisses to pick up their orders; covers their asses

when they forget to turn their orders in, cooking

on high, fast heat the forgotten chateau briand.


Not so impassive impalas stare with startled eyes

of round, brown glass, as if the parting shot that shocked them

into death still echoes in an absent brain, removed,

locked in time by taxidermy. Their bodies, now the walls,

2 x 4's and fiber glass; the flesh that once attached

to disembodied heads, long gone, eaten by bearers

or discarded to the jackals and hyenas;

hide-covered skulls and curving horns the treasured souvenirs.

The neighboring water buffalo, truculent, dark

upon the beige, grimaces, flared nostrils like black holes

in deep space, no longer slipping snot in fearsome charge,

no drool dripping from purple lips and tossing head.


He has no wife, no family, nothing except the heads,

the life-like horns and snouts erect upon the walls.

The little German blonde he craved, now aged, vanished

as the zebra. No. Though small, she was a lioness.

Her tiny head with glittering eye might strange be on the wall,

spot of dark decay on small, square teeth repaired by stuffer's art.

Instead, the king of beasts, now docile as a housecat,

embedded in a logo embellished by MGM,

growls in Deutschland's place. The vast veldt within the house

resounds with emptiness, long-lost cries and shouts, roar

and tumult from afar, an African plain...a dream

that lingers, indelible, more real than charring sirloin;

a dream, inedible, lodged in the brain of a chef

like a mis-aimed bullet that ruins a trophy kill.


Copyright by Don Gray


Don Gray Art  •  Poems