I think about your scrawny addict’s body, that nervous leftover crackling, how it worked its way into your southern cuisine, you lost in your white chef’s jacket shouting joyfully over the kitchen din about garlic plucked yesterday, lettuce so tender it almost made you cry. You held an heirloom tomato big as your heart still beating then in spite of years on heroin.
. You wore sobriety like a t-shirt with the sleeves hacked off. Some days you dozed mid-sentence while we were talking and I knew you’d found oxycontin or fentanyl somewhere in town. How it would price you out of two sons and their beautiful mother.
. Oh, but your braised brisket! Your mac and four-cheeses! Your rich cloud of chocolate mousse, jambalaya steaming in a giant pot. Just to hear you call my name across tiers of fresh produce in Whole Foods, your basket filled with organic shitake mushrooms, tiny yellow summer squash, bags of basmati rice, three sweet vinegars, parsley flowing over the edge like lace. Oh, Billy, just to feel your skinny arms briefly around me.