Arriving at this little white house
Through the forest, past the river
I’ve come for four days of quiet retreat
Knowing I’ll cook for myself

I wanted to cook tom kha gai (thai soup)
spicy with lemongrass and chili, but
I didn’t bring a can opener for the coconut milk
Or a cutting board for the vegetables
Or a dish scrub for the pot
now overflowing with rice water

I wanted to build my table from craigslist
with bags with screws and no instructions, but
I didn’t bring a screwdriver or wrench.
I wanted to sit down but
I didn’t bring a chair, just an
unbuilt table

I wanted to complain and go home but
I didn’t bring another person to complain to
And I’m too tired to drive home so
Instead I decided to cook the poor man’s dish —
shakshuka, not requiring any cans to be opened
I used a paper plate as a cutting board
Discovered utensils unknown
Packed alongside the rice pot

Calmed by the smell of sautéed onions
and lemongrass rice
For a moment, I am still
Not focused on what I did not bring
Remembering, I have enough
I will have something to eat
I am capable of driving into town for
a cutting board, or asking a friend for
a can opener in a few hours
No need for panic, just