African Largesse

 African Largesse

The galleon of grandmamma billowed through doorways
leaving no wind but the scent of cologne.
Her horn-handled stick communed with the floor
like the serpent with Eve, both bent upon
a domestic secret service.


The boiler house alive; steam and invective,
stammering lids, riddled coals…wither
the larder sent knaves to forlorn persecution;
speared with clove, smeared with brown sugar,
basted under prodding inquisition…


The flaying of oranges, the shelling of nuts…
(Hourly conscripts, the aproned maids
gossiping in the sun on the stoep of escape).
The trussing of fowl, the knotting of pressed tongue
gilded the hours of her kingdom kitchen.


Wafted seasonal juniper, caraway, mulling of wine…
Sounding drums of enamel, the harp of shattered glass…
Courtiers of dishes medalled in silver…
Embroidered with parsley, tickling a piglet,
its jaws impaled on original sin.


She presided in pearls, with sardonic self-mockery
Smothered each dish with a sauce of jellied laughter…
And her imperious injunction
‘So eat’