Cold Carrot Curry Remnants of last night’s carrot curry, our weekly vegetarian meal, sit in the square glass bowl on the bottom refrigerator shelf. I lift the silicone lid, Sniffing, and inspect the swirls of brown cumin and ginger playing about the edges of slim carrot disks and rotund chickpeas. Congealed bright yellow oil, frames the carrots, envelopes the chickpeas. Aroma of ginger tempts my hunger and I pull it out. Like a paisley symphony, an edible silken sari, it calls to me. With naan, I scoop up a portion of yesterday’s meal, joining the separate flavors, textures in the heat of my mouth. I reach for a glass of pomegranate juice to toast my discovery that carrot curry is a dish best served cold.
A slightly longer version Published by Gnashing Teeth in their Fall 2019Anthology “Heat the Grease, We’re Frying Up Some Poetry”
A Platter of Mezze Nightly, I watched this young man dodging traffic to cross the street at sunset while keeping tight hold on a large platter. I could set my clock by his, arrival, when the sun sets. I guessed he was bringing Iftar goodies to friends living in my building. It became a ritual, in that time of Ramadan, just before dusk, in the glow of the moon to glance out my window to spot my neighbor’s mezze messenger. One evening I was in the lobby. I held the door for him. He thanked me, smiled, and spoke: "Please, lift the tray cover, Take some dates. Try the katayef." I smiled. "No, thank you." He continued to the elevator to break fast with his friends. Not long after that Ramadan I moved from that apartment and forgot about my smiling friend. Last night, a photo of my mezze messenger filled the screen on CNN and told of a fiery fate. The announcer spoke his name, "Moath al-Kasasbeh"; My first thought was, "Who will bring the mezze now?" If only my tears could quench flames.
A Platter of Mezze ….. first published in Inspiration of the Heart, March 21 2015, Melinda Cochrane website and is in my chapbook, Languid Lusciousness with Lemon, from Finishing Line Press
Arborio Rice Creamy, al dente grains, redolent of porcini mushrooms rest in my bowl. I lean over my bowl, spoon in hand. As I chew, a song drifts into my mind—Bella Ciao. It’s the theme of women wading in marshy rice canals fighting for a living wage singing songs of protest, songs that become the themes of resistance fighters— Bella Ciao. I lift a spoon, again savor thoughtfully, the smooth chew of their words. True risotto cannot be made without Arborio rice; cannot be served without the flavor of the history of all those beauties who sang Bella Ciao.
Joan Leotta plays with words on page and stage. Her poems, articles, essays, and short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Ekphrastic Review, Pine Song, A-3 Review, When Women Write, Verse Visual, and Verse Virtual, Mystery Tribune, anti-heroin chic, Drunk Monkeys, and others. She has been a Tupelo Press 30/30 author, and a Gilbert Chappell Fellow. Her chapbook, Languid Lusciousness with Lemon, is out from Finishing Line Press. Her chapbooks Nature’s Gifts is free from Stanzaic Stylings. Dancing Under the Moon and Morning by Morning, mini-chapbooks are free through Origami Press. As a performer, she tells folk and personal tales featuring food, family, nature, and strong women.