Saturday, 18 June 2022

'Shiraz' by Sara Magdy Amin

She stands on her tiptoes, her bare feet an accomplice to a robbery. One hand outstretched to scale the climbing vines, another to support her bursting belly. She is shaded by trusses of purple grapes, ornate shrines. Their stems grow in tall pillars that arch at the top, signalling eyes towards the sky. Today, her eyes were elsewhere. She would not wait for the promised wine rivers of scripture. She would dampen her mouth, like mortals from the faraway lands often do, with the fruits of her labour. Her fingers target a ripe cluster, pluck the darkest, roundest grape, roll it between them like a miniature Earth. She brings the looted jewel to her mouth and her tongue makes the safe delivery to her teeth. Their stomp stomps yield the most sweetness, like the feet with the clinking anklets always do. An eruption of saccharine warmth fills her mouth and trickles down her legs. She will tell him how she woke up drenched in holy red, she will tell him about the blessed soil and the seven good years, she will tell him about the ululations and clinking anklets. She will tell the vineyard baby how he was named Shiraz, how, beneath the shaded shrines, she stole a small taste of sweetness.

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