In other words, Figs; In other words, Anise

This piece comes to us from Abeir Soukieh, who was born and raised in Canberra but whose ancestry stems from Lebanon, “so genetically her body would probs fare better in that climate”.

Figs dried in the Mediterranean sun are sweeter than any sugar you can–
but why ‘tart’ should come to mind when it’s so obviously ‘tang’ is beyond me
‘tart’ must have a sweeter sound
to it
oh anise
I am searching for a way to describe it without sounding like–
warm and sweet and sharp like licorice which, to me, has always been…temperate
or yawning
or breathing deeply
no, I’ve nothing against fennel, no
I just like my walnut like I like my walnut
like I like my chestnut, like I like my chickpea and date palm
like I like my pomegranate; full and bloody-red in nutmeat,
in seedmeat,
in aril­–careful now;
and holy open sesame oilseed bun batman, I wonder just how inedible the rest of it is
for later
for later
though we might have fresh melons, if the season allows it; cantaloupe, a rose by any other rockmelon
and honeydew
I’d love to cover you
but, for me, it’d be
coffee or tea?
watermelon and white cheese;
watermelon and white cheese and nigella seeds that really–
or it’s flatbread soaked in warm milk and rose water;
some orange blossom, at time and or times, amiss, but never in need of vanilla,
I always thought
oh! how happy she was to see amaranth;
to see purslane (here too?)
to see mallow and dock and mustard and dandelion and savoury and…
what’s it called in English?
say, petroselinum crispum; says rosetta stone, garden Parsley
not to be confused with Cilantro
which is to be confused with Coriander
which is not to be confused with taproot to lateral turnip, to top-taper or to ‘troot;
to look left and pickle right;
            oohh radish of mine thou art not sweet
to cucumber
           but how thee dost compel my feet
to say mentha,
           were’t not for thine crunch thou coulds’t be rocket
to say sumac,
          would that you were inside o my pocket.
or to say, garlic?
that is to say, onion and oh
what in the world was it?
if you say so;
potato, potato, tomato, tomato; I say zucchini you say courgette;
an eggplant by any other aubergine would taste as…

oh yes
there is something in it
the olive tree
the lemon tree
something in its complete
to you, to me

and so but for shelter;
of molasses,
like so,
with warm stucking saffron

and so but for shelter;
of sweet sweet bittersweet almondite and cedar;
of peach-fat fleshy famed apricot feastivus;

of orchid and cherry, to taste,
to taste
of pine;
of mulberry and

and of two;
two, not-too-near-together sheaths of ghee-happy semolina,
cushioning, as it were, sweet cheese or clotted cream or mastic gum and ice cream,
to be baked golden-red, golden-red as tree resin,
poured over with glasslike dew, that is, with thickly syrup,
and bestrewn
with aplomb!
with pistachio nuts.

© Abeir Soukieh, 2018