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by Sharmagne Leland-St. John

I am thinking poetry....
The phones for once are quiet,
and there are long shadows
inside my room.
At an open window
curtains quiver.
On the hillside
nasturtiums bloom.

Through sense memory,
or euphoric recall,
I am reminded
of their peppery taste.
also known as "Indian Cress,"
cousins to the radish,
fill my wooden bowl
with their asymmetrical
celadon leaves.

Scattered on top,
a bright profusion of flowers,
mostly orange, but some bright yellow,
or the muted colour of Devon cream,
others in total contrast,
a velvety, dark, burgundy hue,
tantalise, tease,
with their piquant promise.

I used to always cook with flowers
when my life was simpler
and my thumb greener.
Squash blossoms
fried in a cornmeal batter were a staple
at my dinner table.

On lazy, sun drenched mornings in Mellery,
roses, boiled with sugar cane,
and reduced to a thick, sweet, ruby red syrup,
was dripped, from Georgian silver spoons onto Belgian waffles.
Rose petal coolers were sipped in summer
beneath the majestic magnolia trees
as bees hummed their drone-like litany.

The tiny blue flowers
of the rosemary,
the pink and purple blossoms
of the thyme and sage,
dotted the bottom
of a large, brown, glazed Mexican bowl,
as we drizzled fruity,
hot, virgin, olive oil
from a copper saucepan
over them,
then added more chopped herbs
to steep,
sending up an aromatic prayer
to the kitchen gods.

Then we poured this scented oil
into another bowl
overflowing with cooked pasta shells.
Once anointed,
we carried them,
ceremoniously, through
the catacomb of alabaster,
white, sun bleached rooms
out to the verandah,
to our waiting guests,
who, with forks raised,
and starched, white linen napkins tucked
into blue collars,
or rib-necked sweaters,
awaited this magnificent feast,
the ultimate gift
from Mother Earth



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