Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Eggplant Poem (draft)

This is a new poem that I wrote for my poetry class with Dawn McDuffie.  The formatting came out sucky, sorry about that!  :-(  It is a DRAFT:

Aubergine, Solanum melongena, a Recipe

Open your loppers and wield them like the mandibles
of a huge insect. Steer them step-by-step toward the tall rangy plants
that bow with the weight of their fruit.  Swoop and center the jaws
around the fruit-stalk, yank closed the teeth to sever the tough stem. 
Watch the purple, pear-shaped fruit plop onto soil
damp and fragrant from days of rain. Carry it reverently
to the coiled hose, allowing each of your ten fingers
to stroke the rich, smooth skin. Wash the few dirt clusters
from the plump base of the fruit with a soft spray
and dry the fruit on your clean cotton apron. Enjoy the way
the water droplets sink into the fabric and disappear,
leaving only faint and fading dark spots on the paisley pattern.
Brush your lips against skin the color of stormy sunset. 
Inside, place a skillet on the fire, add fat, and turn up the flame.
Slide the cutting board from its home along the window wall
and pull the thick-handled butcher knife from its block. 
Lay your sacrifice on the wooden altar and slice from the shoulders
to the hips.  Pause to admire the creamy flesh and small designs
of seed. In a low, flat dish pour stone-ground cornmeal, flour,
salt, pepper, garlic, and a pinch of Old Bay.  Blend with a fork.
From the egg basket on the sideboard, raise your piles
of fresh-picked spinach, cilantro and parsley, pausing to sniff
the aromatic cilantro, and lift out two brown eggs.  Thump them
quickly against the edge of the sink, pull the shells apart
and let the wet suns in their small seas fall into a flat dish. 
Mix with the fork. One by one, lay the slices in the beaten eggs,
flip them, lay them in the cornmeal, flip them and drop them
into hot fat. Listen for a quick sizzle and a hiss of bubbles.
When the edges brown, turn them over and watch them dance.
When the slices resemble the sunset gold of the elm leaves
that gather in the tall grass outside your window, lay them
on towels to drain and cool. Arrange like petals of a flower
on Grandma’s heirloom Botanica platter, with sprigs of parsley
and cilantro. Danger!  Don't make these more than once a year
and don’t burn your tongue as you groan and savor
the crunchy crust that clings to the hot, soft fruit.

Mary Stebbins Taitt
for Margaret and Keith
111018-1516-2a(3), 111017-1432-1b(2), 111017-0836-1st complete,111016 partial draft a

Further instructions, not part of poem:
layer the leftovers with tomatoes and parmesan
and bake. Cut into rectangular chunks and serve warm.
-OR- Place the fresh fruit in the microwave ten minutes.  Cool.  Carefully scrape the soft pulp
from the now delicate skin, add lemon, olive oil, tahini and garlic
and spread on pita, toast or chips.  Wallow then, in the gorgeous glory of baba ghanouj.