The Ofi Press Magazine

International Poetry and Fiction from Mexico City

1 Poem Published

By Janette Ayachi, Scotland (Published in Issue 9)

 

Janette Ayachi has a Masters in Creative Writing from Edinburgh, with poems published in Poetry Salzburg Review, The Edinburgh Review, Velvet, The Red Wheelbarrow (St Andrews) and Gutter.  She also has poems in current editions of Drey and New Writing Scotland, then upcoming in The French Literary Review and The Istanbul Review. Her pamphlet A Choir of Ghosts will be published later this year, and her first full book collection will be published in January 2013, both by Red Squirrel.

 

 

 

 

A Jewish Lady from Algiers

(After Louis Roguin 1843)

 

(i)

Later you will lug baskets of ingredients

back from the market, the heat staining

the scene caramel like an albumen print,

your eyes the static swirl of milk amber.

 

You will sip tamarind tea with your sister

play with the crumbs of your almond pastry

watch the alizarin crimson of sunset creep

over the park garden crocuses then rush

home to prepare dinner for your husband.

 

He sits on a lamb-hide rug, lit by the gilt

oil lamp, his veins filled with ichors,

his back towards you face down in his Torah

whilst the Muslim call for prayer

is chanted over rooftops cramming the air

with cadential song and ancient lullaby.

 

You duck under doorframes and archways

your stomach tightens to contract undertow

the baby stretching out within its embryo

with a head no bigger than a harvest-peach stone.

 

(ii)

jewelled Jewish woman

metal worked in filigree

painful spectacle

 

pregnant in profile

black scarf tailing down your spine

alien shadow

 

walking the scorched streets

obliged to lower your head

chasing feet not eyes of strangers.