Poetry / October 2017 (Issue 37)


Enter the Kitchen

by Zilka Joseph

The kitchen is dark. The tube-light flickers,
its blue-white light startles
the resident cockroaches. Stamping

my feet keeps them away. Most retreat. Only one,
fat as a mejdool date defies me, outsized
antennae waving. When I throw

my slipper at him, he disappears. He will return,
and I remind myself to tell Najma,
it is time for our summer

crackdown. I make chai. The cold
milk and water take an eon to boil. Why
no breeze from the window? A rat

drags some papery thing
along the ledge before the crows
pounce. I hear a small shriek. Sweat

rivers down the back
of my legs. The mosquitoes
which held off last night

(the lemongrass scented
Odomos worked) now boldly circle
and dive. Rising up suddenly,

the frothy liquid in the dekchi
floods the counter, spills
on my feet. I dance to dodge

the flow. A stench like burnt flesh
thickens the air. My ears hear a familiar
rustle. Toes still smarting, I whip

around. Spread wings rasping,
the mejdool monster
flings itself at me.
 
 
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