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An Ode to the Closing of My Favourite Deli

for Queenie Prince

Anchovies and ancestry always used to have the same ring

when I was younger. The same way I always thought

herrings were red, until I saw them curled like silver tongues

behind the deli counter.

How little

I knew of the way we smuggle heritage into meals, that to pass

a plate of salt beef into asking hands was a gift.

We draw back memories the way we do chairs, offer slices of life

over cheesecake, swilling words and wine.

I could never quite understand

my heartache at missing such spreads when I left home,

until I realised it was not the joy of eating I missed

but the narrative.

Even now with the empty places

we do not mourn,

we do not lose appetite,

but we celebrate and we gorge, and it is within

the salt flecks that we find

our remembrance, our gratitude, our faith.

Jade Prince (she/her) is a 21 year old from Essex, England, who recently completed her BA English Literature with Creative Writing. She has been selected as feature poet in Makarelle, had work published in Ink, Sweat & Tears and Sunday Mornings at the River, and was a runner up for the Alison Morland Prize 2020. Her time is currently spent completing a Masters in Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds.

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