The Gift

by Matt Barnard

Why? We don’t know you, though we hear
the rapid knocking of your voice through the wall,
and see you walking silently up the High Road
ushering a gaggle of grandchildren before you,
Maharani on an elephant swaying through the jungle.
Sometimes, you even raise an enigmatic smile,
then carry on, your tumeric yellow sari swinging
beneath a three-quarter-length grey raincoat.
And then, one day, for no reason, a guttural eh eh eh
and your hand over the trellis with a margarine tub
and a warm plastic bag. This first, then more,
white grub-shaped things, sweetmeats, grey-green sauces
that taste hot-cold, sweet-sour, spicy-dry, so many
tastes outside the language of our mouths. Now
to explain this: our reciprocation, banana-bread
taken with a look of utter, utter bewilderment.