New verse by Wellington writer Nick Ascroft.
[Editorial note: A panel of experts refute the poem is about dumplings.]
Throw him out like dough on a flour-dusted table,
put your wrists into it, your back – hh – sacrum, hips,
get a knee up, weight the thick of your femur from
up your upper leg to its lock: let him, in your knuckles
and short breaths, feel – ff – hh – ff – it, the dumpling
furl of your pelvic girdle. Left to moisten, commingle,
they’ve been aching thirty minutes
under a sultry towel, while you slit and drained
the bok choy (paâk ts’oì: white vegetable – ff – hh –
gamine little vegetable) and indexed it in ground pork,
just a zaftig waft of scent to salve: dry sherry and
ginger, sweat-odouring scallions, and its oil’s bitter sesame.
Throw him out like the dough of a dumpling skin,
ease him onto his chest on a dusted table.
And engrossed in it, licking like a gecko, roll him.
The dowel works the handfuls of dough to skins
of a half-moon, and furrows pleats of their outer arc.
Everything has waited to steam in clammy bamboo:
the soyabeans and wheat fermenting the salted months
to sauce; him, salty lipped, eyes like cold water and flour,
and a suppler dough in the lower boil;
and you – ff – parched – hh – ff – hand-feeding,
arched – hh – one knee up on a kitchen chair.