New verse by Wellington writer Nick Ascroft.
[Editorial note: A panel of experts refute the poem is about dumplings.]
Throw him out like dough on a flour-dusted table,
put your wrists into it, your back – hh – sacrum, hips,
get a knee up, weight the thick of your femur from
up your upper leg to its lock: let him, in your knuckles
and short breaths, feel – ff – hh – ff – it, the dumpling
furl of your pelvic girdle. Left to moisten, commingle,
they’ve been aching thirty minutes
under a sultry towel, while you slit and drained
the bok choy (paâk ts’oì: white vegetable – ff – hh –
gamine little vegetable) and indexed it in ground pork,
just a zaftig waft of scent to salve: dry sherry and
ginger, sweat-odouring scallions, and its oil’s bitter sesame.
Throw him out like the dough of a dumpling skin,
ease him onto his chest on a dusted table.
And engrossed in it, licking like a gecko, roll him.
The dowel works the handfuls of dough to skins
of a half-moon, and furrows pleats of their outer arc.
Everything has waited to steam in clammy bamboo:
the soyabeans and wheat fermenting the salted months
to sauce; him, salty lipped, eyes like cold water and flour,
and a suppler dough in the lower boil;
and you – ff – parched – hh – ff – hand-feeding,
arched – hh – one knee up on a kitchen chair.
The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books.
The Spinoff Daily gets you all the days' best reading in one handy package, fresh to your inbox Monday-Friday at 5pm.