Oven Toasters

Oven toaster. Free image via Unsplash.

Welcome to another poetry series. This time around, I'll be sharing with you my own poems. Why? Episode 1 of the four-week special should have it covered (embedded below).

The first featured poem is about the little box of surprise found in many a kitchenette: the oven toaster.

What's your favorite cooking tool? Your favorite kitchen poem? I would love to hear from you — share your thoughts and experiences, or even ask a question. I would love to talk poetry and appliances.


Ode to the Japanese oven toaster
Razel Estrella


Precision is none of your business.
A second more yields the blackest bread;
A second less and breakfast's a pale mess.

Half toaster, half oven, one's a fool
To seek perfection in either.
The critics laugh. Yes I am mad.


Stripped of haute pretenses,
I learned to tame you. In time
We pulled off a knockout roast,
Baked sweet potatoes, pies,
A cake to pass an entire Sunday's
Worth of loneliness. Friends tease
Out my bachelorette life,
But you're the real mystery,
My kitchenette's box of surprise.
You make me dare, you make me bold.
Is it the tool that makes the master?


The year is 2020. My, a machine
Made in Japan is keeping me company!

We shall stay at home
As long as diseases spread 'round

The world and leaders can't be trusted
With the numbers.

I wake up to find your metal skin
Gleaming by the window

Where I choose to see a future brightened
By feast and fair labor. And me,

Cooking in a changed country with you
Who assumes so little a space in my dream.

Somewhere in the episode, I indirectly quoted James Baldwin. I've done him and the listeners a disservice because his words are so much better. So for context and clarity, and your mental nourishment, here's the direct quote:

Interviewer: What do you tell younger writers who come to you with the usual desperate question: How do I become a writer?

James Baldwin: Write. Find a way to keep alive and write. There is nothing else to say. If you are going to be a writer there is nothing I can say to stop you; if you’re not going to be a writer nothing I can say will help you. What you really need at the beginning is somebody to let you know that the effort is real.

And here is the full interview from the Paris Review The Art of Fiction series.


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