Monday, April 26, 2021

Zucchini by Peter Balakian


My grandmother cored them
with a serrated knife
with her hands that had come
through the slaughter—
So many hours I stared at the blotch
marks on her knuckles,
her strong fingers around the
long green gourd—
In a glass bowl the stuffing was setting—
chopped lamb, tomato pulp, raw rice, lemon juice,
a sand brew of spices—
from the riverbank of her birth—
Can holding on to this image
help me make sense of time?
the temporal waves,
waves smashing and lipping
the pulverized stone; a bird dissolving
into a cloud bank in late day;
the happy and sad steps we walked
along the plaster walls and steel bridges,
the glass façades, highways of glistening money
the objects we caress in dreams
from which we wake to find the hallway dark,
the small light at the bottom of the stairs,
the kitchen waiting with a scent
of zucchini sautéed in olive oil
onions and oregano,
a waft of last night’s red wine—a gulp
of cold water to bring on the day. 

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