Poem: Nine Spice Mix

Nine Spice Mix
–Zeina Azzam

This spice mix is fea­tured in many of the dish­es in this book, lend­ing them a unique­ly Pales­tin­ian flavor.
—Reem Kas­sis, The Pales­tin­ian Table

First they tan­go on my tongue,
nim­ble cou­ples careening,
then together
form an Arab-style line dance
step­ping, stomp­ing, swaying.

West Indies all­spice dazzles,
berries tan­gling with cin­na­mon sticks,
while cloves, Indone­sian natives,
lead with a spir­it­ed sol­i­dar­i­ty solo.

Corian­der seeds offer greet­ings in Hindi
as oth­ers toast com­rades in languages
beyond bor­ders and blockades.

Lift­ing up sis­ter­hood, sun-wiz­ened nutmeg
starts a sib­ling dance with mace.
Cumin demurs, then surprises
with sub­tle exultation.

Queen of spices cardamom,
host of the par­ty, gives a nod to flavors
in hid­ing: lemo­ny, sweet, warm,
fra­grant, nut­ty, pun­gent, hot.

Encour­aged, feisty black peppercorns
shim­my cen­ter stage, organizing
the unique union of nine
for a viva­cious glob­al salute.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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