The Cook of Hatiheu
Koute was mistress
to hard peaks
prattling slopes skulls exalted bones.
Basalt cuspids bit hard an obsidian sea.
But the whole valley ate from her hand.
roaring waves appeased
by the church chime
along a dream-fracking beach.
Bare-foot valley rife with souls
was all shudder and shimmer.
Here Koute mother
to the Humboldt current
lifted sea-hounds on the hunt
of wahoo and skipjack.
Night’s thalassic embrace
fertilized air and soil.
Under its cosmic ardor she cooked
the way others write music
between roof and stars an open hearth
licking the flames from her eyes
as she fed the valley rainbow and cirrus foods.
Chevrettes flour-rolled into asteroids.
Pink florets of frigate tuna
coated in lime and milk.
Night’s sagoma was close enough to feel
so Koute served us distance too
tiare buds of space
celestial jellies supersonic eels
The rule of the dark was prodigy.
we sat up till dawn’s collation.
Her clansmen emerged then
leaving their bracken fragrance
and mangos at my door.
Stephanie V Sears is a French and American ethnologist (Doctorate EHESS, Paris 1993), free-lance journalist, essayist and poet whose poetry recently appeared in The Deronda Review, The Comstock Review, The Mystic Blue Review, The Big Windows Review, Indefinite Space, The Plum Tree Tavern, Literary Yard, Clementine Unbound, Anti Heroine Chic, DASH, The Dawn Treader, Dodging the Rain, Amethyst Review, The Non-Conformist Magazine, SORTES, New Reader, New Contrast, Short-listed in 2009 for a Pushcart Prize. Her first book of poetry: ‘The Strange Travels of Svinhilde Wilson’ was published by Adelaide Book in 2020. Red Ogre anthology 2022.