The Sunday Posts 2012




If I were a cinnamon peeler
I would ride your bed
and leave the yellow bark dust
on your pillow.

Your breasts and shoulders would reek
you could never walk through markets
without the profession of my fingers floating over you.

The blind would stumble, certain of whom they approached
though you might bathe under rain gutters,

monsoon.

Here on the upper thigh
at this smooth pasture
neighbor to your hair
or the crease
that cuts your back. This ankle.
You will be known among strangers
as the cinnamon peeler's wife.

I could hardly glance at you
before marriage
never touch you
-- your keen nosed mother, your rough brothers.
I buried my hands in saffron,
disguised them over smoking tar,
helped the honey gatherers...

When we swam once
I touched you in water
and our bodies remained free,
you could hold me and be blind of smell.
You climbed the bank and said

this is how you touch other women
the grasscutter's wife, the lime burner's daughter.

And you searched your arms for the missing perfume
and knew what good it is to be the lime burner's daughter
left with no trace
as if not spoken to in an act of love
as if wounded without the pleasure of scar
you touched your belly to my hands in the dry air and said 

I am the cinnamon peeler's wife.
Smell me.


The Cinnamon Peeler’s Wife 

By Michael Ondaatje

Comments

Sorry Alistair, just plain weird.
IndigoWrath said…
Hi Alistair! I think I may need to read this one again a coupla times. A friend of mine writes exquisite poetry; I never understand a word of it. But I persevere. Thanks for sharing this, Indigo
Alistair said…
TSB - I know - but I like it..

Indigo - Guess I just have to refer you to the answer above too - but for a different reason!
dbs said…
Great Canadian writer. This reminds me of The English Patient.
Alistair said…
I really like this one. I;ve never seen any poems by him before......

I did like 'The English Patient'.

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