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)
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.
jewelled Jewish woman
metal worked in filigree
pregnant in profile
black scarf tailing down your spine
walking the scorched streets
obliged to lower your head
chasing feet not eyes of strangers.