Andie Lewenstein’s poems are published in Scintilla, Cinnamon Press, Blinking Eye, Obsessed With Pipework, Poetry South East, Artemis and Railroad Poetry. She was co-director of the Poetry OtherWise conference in Sussex.
The Night Kitchen
The flour is dry
like earth before the offering.
Here is butter,
sugar, egg, zest of an orange,
her hands moving a wooden spoon,
ashes to ashes.
This will rise,
a slow confection.
A slow pleasure it was
to feel his hands moving over her thighs.
She whispers his name.
The ghost quickens and enters.
A sponge cake made in heaven, as they say,
those who don’t believe in it.
She believes in it, licking her finger,
pressing the plate for crumbs,
and when it’s gone,
pain in the gut –
something bitter on the tongue.
The House of Bread
My mother’s husband does not want visitors
coming unannounced. As I approach
the alarm begins to sound. He spies me
through a hole in the door and does not open.
He tells my mother it is just a fox or a deer.
She wonders aloud if I will come.
And a bird flies against the glass. My mother cries,
Oh look! The bird falls back but lifts again,
taps at the pane with its beak. She says my name,
waits for it to speak.
I am outside, mother –
find me in the garden or beyond the gate,
run with me under the darkening sky.
His heart has been under the knife and weathered
rage that we can only imagine by looking at the sea
as it devours and disgorges. His meat is red and raw.
He needs it like mother’s milk, washes it down with wine
from a warm country where there are people
with whom he could share bread and olives.
Kindertransport boy, Kraut-Jew and Jesus-murderer,
this England was never his friend. It taught him how to name
his enemies, and they are legion.
He is king at his table where no-one comes, but one.
My mother sucks on flesh and spits out blood.
I wait at the gate and make no sound.
I carry the bloodline and the yellow star.
Where shall I go if not to my mother’s door?
I am in the forest with no moon,
come again to the heart-shuttered house
where even icicles that hang from the roof
taste of sugar, brick-dust like cinnamon spice,
and I am hungry for Beit Lechem – the house
of bread. A thin voice comes from its walls:
“Who’s nibbling at my housie?”
I am nothing but the wind, Mother.
I learned from you to imitate
a seagull’s cry. Words
get lost. You wonder
where they could be,
I have them, Mother –
words I got from source:
Schneewitchen hinter den Bergen,
weiss wie Schnee,
rot wie Blut,
schwarz wie Ebenholz.
I walk from your door
backwards, tracing my steps.
The snow will cover them.
How will you find me?
Who will bring them back to you –
songs from the house of bread?
Der Wind, der Wind,
das himmlische Kind.