Poem of the day

What If I Unsettled the Homeland?

by Hassan El Ouazzani

21 May

Green Tea in the Wheelhouse

by Rachel Nwokoro

20 May

Fungi

by Tamar Yoseloff

If we think dishonestly, or malignantly, our thoughts 

will die like evil fungi – dripping corrupt dew 

                                       John Ruskin, Proserpina

 

The smell –

wet anorak, fusty books, disturbed dust

of long unopened doors –

like the basement of your childhood,

beautiful scary darkness.

 

They poke

their tiny heads through dirt,

explorers from another age, and find

a world glassy with rain, a forest

thick with leaf mulch.

 

A good one,

if you’re starving, could save

your life. A bad one would kill you

after only one bite. Step on its poison head,

it billows black fumes.

 

Lost in the woods

and hungry, how to tell them apart?

You can trust the feel of flesh on your tongue,

good meat – you know it won’t hurt you,

you’re a bit of a witch yourself.

 

19 May

Malt loaf

by Gaia Holmes

It was the dark bread my mother fed me

to pacify my tears.

When I saw it on the kitchen table

I knew it meant departure.

She’d be slicing it into squares,

loading it with butter as he kissed me: as he

gently unhooked my hands from his neck

and walked out to the car.

She’d be laying it in a brown circle

on the big blue plate

as I watched the Renault rise over the hill.

 

She’d give it me with warm milk and honey.

The butter thickened in my mouth,

spread itself like wet silk in my throat.

I’d mould each slice into a small lump

until the raisins bled black juices

and my fingertips were slick with grease,

I’d squeeze it like the clay he let me play with:

the stuff we dug from river banks

spiced with bracken, loam and willow bark.

My mother would keep slicing and spreading

until I stopped crying: once I ate a whole loaf.

 

Now the spices seem too sinister for comfort.

The molasses jars my palette, reminds me

of tar, long roads and car doors slamming.

I do not like the taste of desertion.