an Aotearoa poetry journal | ISSN 2744-3248

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Tarot #07
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Tarot #02
Tarot #01

Blend your own masala

My neighbour’s masala blend
in its snack size zip top is down to its final grains
Geeta’s a wiz with cumin and chilli and I’m about to
ask for more when my son
            Ngati Kahungunu on his Dad’s shoulders
            and breathing the Satpura warmth of Chhindwarra
            on my father’s side,
stops reading his Koran for long enough
to remind me of my grandmother
how she watched her Maa throw fistfuls of Jeera into her sabzis
its lemon aniseed and tree bark
fragrance dancing, DNA interweaving with mounds of Dhaniya
smiling, milky citrus and grandmother’s Auckland kitchen
short-lived shrine to her maa back home
sang each night with the onions sugaring and curling in ghee

I remind my son before checking the corned beef
not all desis survived the journey eastwards
my grandmother soon learned to Monday grind the Sunday roast
kicking the lamb into gear with the merest lick of salt
the potatoes greying in their stiff little sniff of butter.

All those kitchen ragas their evening ululations
chilli and smoke kissing the rangehood—
have faded in the tidy Auckland air

I lack the knowledge, I tell him

My son fingers the Mushaf
and tells me to blend my own masala