top of page


A friend who learned it from a friend

showed me the recipe. It’s pasta—no sauce,

penne or fusilli or bowtie—boiled,

strained, and placed in a bowl steaming.

Plain as a lady’s face out of the shower,

it gets nothing. A drizzle of olive oil, sea salt,

and a careful shake of crushed red pepper.

(A guy I knew likened crushed

red pepper to fish food—I still dislike him.) This dish I learned

of in 2011 from a friend I lived with who ate it

along with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Her shopping list must have been simple,

low-cost. I explained the recipe to others.

Some admired it. Someone said add steamed broccoli.

More compliments. I toted it with me

through the end of my twenties,

feasted on it housesitting—borrowed olive oil,

my own noodles.

The main rule: it has to be hot.

If it’s so hot some red pepper rubs off

and stains the pasta, that’s great.

It should be a little overdone, soft.

A part of my life unthreatened, seductive;

takes it in stride when I want

something else for dinner.

Brooke Harries (she/her) is from California. Her work has appeared in Salamander, Sixth Finch, Laurel Review, Arkansas Review, Annulet, and elsewhere. She has an MFA from UC Irvine and is a PhD student at the University of Southern Mississippi.

bottom of page