October with Quinoa {a poem}

Ilana Marder-Eppstein - Ecuador


December 4, 2013

I am a bride

Carrying a bouquet of dried Quinoa.

My train of dust dances

Behind bare-feet.

Down the sloped aisle

I walk towards the awaiting women

Circled around a mound of bouquets

The same as mine.

I let my Quinoa fall on the pile

Landing with the rattle of seeds.

The last harvest of the year.

Here, we clean the Quinoa with sticks

Rather than machines.

Beating the stalks until, one by one

The seeds spring into the air

And fall with the sound

Of shells retreating to the sea.

Pound, clatter, pound, clatter.

Music swirls in the air

And the women are dancing

With their words.

Weaving the long eees and harsh ks

Of Kichwa into the symphony.

Our hands are blistered from gripping sticks

That have become smooth in our palms.

And suddenly everything is still,

The music has stopped

The sticks have dropped.

Seeds lay in a mountain

Mixed with the pulp of the beaten stalks

And la cascara,

encasement of the Quinoa.

We scoop up the mixture

In white pots painted with blue flowers.

Holding the jumble of seeds and cascara

High above our heads.

As the mountain breeze rolls through

We tilt the pots pouring the contents

To be separated by the wind.

On the backs of the gusts,

Fly those that do not serve us,

Leaving the seeds,

Stripped of all layers

To form a pile of white gold.

October, you came and went.

As time breezes along

I will take the risk

To cast my empty shells to the wind

To be beaten, and changed.

Ilana Marder-Eppstein