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Volume 7

Outside: Looking In - January 2011


Noorulain Noor

Written by
Noorulain Noor

Noorulain is a member of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and a two time Pushcart Prize nominee. Raised in Lahore, Pakistan, she now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her poetry explores themes of identity, multiculturalism, and the immigrant experience. Noorulain has formerly worked as the Associate Editor and the Lead Poetry Editor of Papercuts magazine.


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Secret Recipe


It was deceptively simple
like scrambled eggs for breakfast
on a lazy weekend morning:
an understated friendship.
We cooked it different ways,
poured ourselves into the mix.

It was more than just two eggs,
yolks whisked as if by magic
or a competent hand 
into a frothy pale yellow mixture
of uniform consistency,
and then cooked into salted chunks in
vegetable oil.

It was I who added the cream,
giving texture to the eggs,
introducing fluidity between 
acquaintances -
some fluff and flavor, a little substance -
creating the freedom to share memories
best left forgotten.

The butter to replace
vegetable oil
was your contribution, 
and it slipped through our fingers
like time,
slowly melting on the nonstick surface,
turning golden,
the smell of dreams cooking – 

Cumin and jalapenos for a kick,
spicy –  
I wonder why we craved that sensation
that both satisfies and wreaks havoc  
on our tongues.
For variety, perhaps
like giving you a pen name – 
an insult of endearment;
or, to surprise,
even awe, ourselves
with that explosion of taste,
a face-lift for the usual
salt-and-pepper brand of relationships.

I would have still called it scrambled eggs,
but it was the final flourish,
the gourmet inspired garnish,
a yours-and-mine endeavor,
that gave us our very own breakfast menu.
Chopped mint and three kinds of olives
with just a hint of lemon zest – 
a contrasting array of quarrels with
a medley of reasons, 
an overstated apology 
like the aromatic herb, 
and the citric shock of silence.



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