Recipe for a year of spring

by Shweta Narayan

Ingredients: two pomegranates large
as nursing breasts, full and fallen
from your mother's tree. A lemon, pucker-sour
and bright. Spirits, distilled. If you cannot find vodka
you may substitute the dead.

1. Peel and pith the pomegranates. Crush
each pod between two fingers and let their blood
run bright down your hand,

You will want
a bite. You will crave
just one pod, just six.
You know better.

2. Add spirits in equal volume
to bloody juice
then toss in the softened flesh.

3. For the lemon, use a blunt peeler.
Be careful of rust;
you will be peeling skin.

Let surprise and sudden pain sweeten
your own juice, then crush three drops
-- no more --
into the cup
to cure.

4. Store in the dark, which is to say anywhere
here for a month, which is to say
forever in the long hollowed bone
of any woman
into her hurts and her scars.

You know he likes those.

5. Filter out the flesh
and any gristle.

6. Cry yourself to sleep. You know
he likes that. Gather your tears in a cup of baked earth,
molten sand, or bone. Top up with mingled blood
bright and heavy
and leave it by his bed.
Do not taste.

7. When it sends him into sleep, run home
to mother. And enjoy your year;

this recipe can only be used

Shweta says: I was born in India and wandered westwards till I got to California, picking up bits of stray mythology and a muse who likes blood (which is to say that some parts of this recipe have been tested).

Most of the poems I've published lurk in These Very Archives, but there's one forthcoming in Not One of Us. My most recent stories can be found in Strange Horizons and Shimmer's Clockwork Jungle issue (and for those possessed of a time machine, in Realms of Fantasy, the Beastly Bride anthology, and the third Clockwork Phoenix anthology).

My favourite type of weather is musical: operatic winds, rain percussive against the window, me snug indoors with hot cocoa and a book.

I can be found on the web and in person (via said time machine) at Clarion 2007, for which I received the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship.

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