Size / / /

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Many things in my kitchen resemble me;
I relate to them; we entertain one another.
Water, fire, and electricity
vegetables, water rich fruits, and dry fruits
dishes and glasses
copper cooking utensils narrating the life of a woman from Kairouan
teaspoons and tablespoons fitting the size of my slender and plump dreams.
A knife, only one.
I don't like knives.
Abel's fear hides in knives.
Ages ago, Abel predated the girl child buried alive
and thus the man learns to forget.
And sometimes
the knife  is none but Antara and Abla's smiling lips.
Something in this kitchen
resembles pantheism
or a cocktail of wisdom juice and wild herbs
I pour every morning
into crockery and crystal vessels from Eastern Europe.
The kitchen is a room where desires rouse,
our bank account scattered inside the fridge, between the table and the garbage bin.
Some people write,
others prepare food.
I write and cook.
One part of me is preparing a passionate dish for a star that might knock on my kitchen's door.
And all of me is writing poetry for a hero my hands made out of water and imagination, and a pound of royal jelly.
I'm torn between two desires
two pleasures
two raptures.
Bunches of grapes watch my serenity summer and winter,
and my dance routine with the zenith that makes bar dancers green with envy.
The zenith likes me, ready to start the feast of love.
The zenith is fully sober when he teases me,
I believe he doesn't mean to seduce me when he grabs my hands and recites al-fatiha

Many things in the kitchen resemble me.
O you the egg
as lovely as my love for him,
you look like a sacramental marriage between snow and sun.
The egg wore Karl Marx out:
does it belong to lower class or upper class?
Just like inveterate democracies, the egg swindles us.
Just like a battered symbol showing no visible bruises, the egg dodges us.
Rich like fish,
like red and white meat.
Tender is the egg, just like me,
her sweetheart is proletarian.
She is undefiled by capitalism,
burning fire,
the camel that started the war of Basus.
Prophets have never forgotten that Basus was a woman.
The egg and I are similar.
Just like me, she likes whiteness.
Like her, my clothes have only two colors.
Two in contentment,
in taboos, in the feast,
in asceticism,
in disclosure.
The egg and I are simple,
two reliable women.
The egg has the shape of a woman,
the woman the shape of hills
where doves, having lost their letters, roost.
The woman has the shape of a prose poem
that has exchanged the horse's neigh and the camel's grunt with the music of my heart.
The woman has the shape of prose with two breasts deliberately neglected by time.
As if I were the dark forest in the land of Hitler and Goethe,
imprisoned by pines in its frozen night.
Since my hero's departure, the sun has never touched me.

Amel Moussa is a Tunisian poet, sociologist, and university teacher who has been awarded the Italian "Lerici Pea" Prize for poetry. Her collections Untha al-Ma' (Female of Water, 1996) and Khajal al-Yakout (The Emerald's Bashfulness, 1998) were translated into Italian. Other poems have been translated into Turkish, French, Spanish, and more languages. Her poetry celebrates the female body and engages women's agency.