Foreign Tongue: Fire & Spice

POETRY NEWS #4626
Date: 02/21/2014 at 23:03
From: Elegist Paik
To : Everyone
Subj: Foreign Tongue: Fire & Spice

Jambalayas, etoufee, andouille:
vowels and spices my tongue cannot navigate.
Spikes of paprika, insistent cumin,
cayenne's slow swelter. The anise of kawhe
tastes like his skin and I long
for a simpler landscape:
Gravy. Steak. Potato.

But he was borne of the volatile seas
and I am a child of the prairie,
of open, empty spaces. Our speech and our food
as stolid and calm as the hills
unfolding toward the horizon.

At night, he teaches me his Ashtani tongue
with its strange, liquid vowels
that swell and tumble like the breakers.
Words like: earlobe. Ribcage. Wrist.
He speaks of the sea-salt I sweat
and the bergamot scent of dune grass at my neck.

I lean into the rolling plains of his chest,
solid as hoof-packed grasslands.
He feels like --

How do you say, in Ashtani, "hardpan"?
Or "wildfire"? Or "the shy, fluttering junco
of my heart"?

Penned by my hand on the 16th of Aeguary, in the year 648 AF.