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The Little Review
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Poem for Tuesday and National Geographic Food


Going Home: New Orleans
By Sheryl St. Germain

for my grandmother, Theresa Frank

Some slow evenings when the light hangs late and stubborn in the sky,
gives itself up to darkness slowly and deliberately, slow cloud after slow cloud,
slowness enters me like something familiar,
and it feels like going home.

It’s all there in the disappearing light:
all the evenings of slow sky and slow loving, slow boats on sluggish bayous;
the thick-middled trees with the slow-sounding names—oak, mimosa, pecan, magnolia;
the slow tree sap that sticks in your hair when you lie with the trees;
and the maple syrup and pancakes and grits, the butter melting
slowly into and down the sides like sweat between breasts of sloe-eyed strippers;
and the slow-throated blues that floats over the city like fog;
and the weeping, the willows, the cut onions, the cayenne, the slow-cooking beans with marrow-thick gravy;
and all the mint juleps drunk so slowly on all the slow southern porches,
the bourbon and sugar and mint going down warm and brown, syrup and slow;
and all the ice cubes melting in all the iced teas,
all the slow-faced people sitting in all the slowly rocking rockers;
and the crabs and the shrimp and crawfish, the hard shells
slowly and deliberately and lovingly removed, the delicate flesh
slowly sucked out of heads and legs and tails;
and the slow lips that eat and drink and love and speak
that slow luxurious language, savoring each word like a long-missed lover;
and the slow-moving nuns, the black habits dragging the swollen ground;
and the slow river that cradles it all, and the chicory coffee
that cuts through it all, slow-boiled and black as dirt;
and the slow dreams and the slow-healing wounds and the slow smoke of it all
slipping out, ballooning into the sky—slow, deliberate, and magnificent.

--------

Our plan for Presidents' Day was to go to go to Gunston Hall, home of George Mason, with Annmarie, which we figured would be perfect for getting in some history before the 2-4 inches of snow arrived at 6 p.m. Except by morning, the forecast had changed to 4-8 inches where we are and 6-10 inches in Northern Virginia, and it was supposed to start around 3:30. So we regrettably canceled, and instead our big expedition was to wait in lines at World Market and Trader Joe's along with everyone else in the area trying to get food for Mardi Gras and the Chinese New Year before we all got trapped in our houses!

Indeed, it was snowing by the time we got home, though it's been very fine and light so far -- maybe an inch on top of what we already had, though so cold that every flake is sticking. Local schools and the University of Maryland are closed tomorrow (my kids are not devastated) so we are not counting on getting out of the house. We watched Sleepy Hollow, where the producers finally seem to have figured out how to make Katrina interesting and give the snow lots of new twists, and Broadchurch, which is going to cost me all my nails! From the National Geographic Museum's Food: Our Global Kitchen:


Day of the Dead, South America


The Development of Taste


What Well-Known People Eat


Jane Austen's Summer Refreshment


Kublai Khan's Feast Table


Aztec Market


Asian Moon Festival
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