Aşure (Noah’s Pudding)

When he walked off the ark after
deluge, slosh, and antsy bird-watching,
there wasn’t much left in the way of
edibles. This, at least, is the story the
Turkish people tell, ladle in hand.
There’s no recipe for aşure. You can
add rice and rosewater and garnets
of pomegranate. You can let coconut
drift over the filberts like snow.

I want all the people I’ve ever friended
to come to my house with their stories,
their offspring, their pictures of God.
One polaroid shows a huge toe
poised over a sugar ant. Another is nothing
but fog on a road, an endless white sky.
A man plays a violin and every note
sprouts wings. A child with red eyes
watches a small candle blink.

There’s no recipe for aşure but I
like it with cinnamon, chickpeas,
scant fig, and lucent apricot. I like
the way the raisins get blimpy again
after all that boiling in lemon and
white beans. I like the way you open
your door and a neighbor you hardly
know kisses both your cheeks, cries
Run, get a bowl! I made this for you.

Bryana Joy is a writer, poet, and painter who works full-time sending illustrated snail mail letters all over the world. She spent her childhood in Turkey and is currently in the middle of a one-year sojourn in York, England with her husband. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in an assortment of literary journals, including Beloit Poetry Journal, The Christian Century, and The Sunlight Press. She has a thing for thunderstorms, loose-leaf tea, green countrysides, and the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.