Journal » Trout 15 » Meaalofa From The Land Of Kush [Serie Barford]
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Meaalofa from the land of Kush

Serie Barford

he sojourned in the ancient land of Kush
where women's thighs once narrowed
like the banks of the parched Nile
then flooded to bear the progeny of gods

and in this land of archers, cowry shells
gold, frankincense and myrrh

he bought a tiered Nubian necklace
for a lover devoid of face or name –
his unknown Queen of Sheba

he was already a grown man
pressing ground pistachios and honey
into the pitted hollows of dates

when I was still a slender, wide-eyed girl
pegging my grandma's nighties in the sun
eating koko raisa and banana for dessert

but trying years have fleshed me out

now I parse words and translate desire
peel onions without blinking and eschew
the promises of wrinkle-free potions
for amber bottles plucked from the pantry

last night I emulsified almond oil with water
lifted the days grime with a warm face cloth
heated oil from apricots between my palms
and slathered my skin with upward strokes

he smiled as I braided my wayward hair
then closed my fingers over dried chickpeas

unfolding my throbbing hands I discovered
this humble legume contains the face of a falcon
and beaks had pecked bloodily at my palms

when he fastened a necklace around my throat
feathers and magic wafted between us

meaalofa – a present (Samoan)

koko raisa – coconut rice dessert (Samoan)


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© Copyright 2008 Serie Barford & Trout.