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Flourless Devil’s Food

December 7, 2010


Shweta Narayan was smelted in India’s summer, quenched in the monsoon, wound up on words in Malaysia, and pointed westwards. She surfaced in Saudi Arabia, The Netherlands, and Scotland before settling in California, where she lives on language, veggie tacos, and the internet at shwetanarayan.org. Shweta’s poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in places like Stone Telling, Mythic Delirium, and Jabberwocky, and her stories in the anthologies The Beastly Bride, Clockwork Phoenix 3, and Steam Powered. She was the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship recipient at the 2007 Clarion workshop.

Oranges: you’ll have to grow your own, love, feed them
finger-cut, moon-flow, any blood will do. The neighbour’s cat
–just say coyotes got her–
and mice who skitter now across her silence.

Migrant workers’ daughters when your tree grows
thirsty. Say coyotes got them
–and just don’t take a blonde.

When fruit hangs heavy, love, copper-bright as screams
grind leftover bones to meal. Add baking soda
and somebody’s sacred food (their children’s captive sweat
adds notes of salt and steam; their childrens’
hollow eyes bring out the bitter).

Follow your normal recipe from there. Invite the neighbours, and match
napkins to their baby’s dappled fur. They’ll taste

that citrus bite, love. Tell them
it’s a welcome home.

I’ll be there.

© Shweta Narayan