Object of Desire
On a carpet of blue and gentian –
an orange sari – a beacon, bobbing
on a balmy sea. Slowly, she kneels
and spreads her linen cloth; each
crocus picked – represents a single
grain of rice to feed her own.
Dusk beckons her home...and on
that slow and dusty road, knowing,
arthritic of fingers, she must sit,
cross-legged, on a make-shift porch
and reap the harvest from her bounty;
rip out the heart of each tiny flower.
Saffron – the culinary object of desire –
plucked from those purple fields
of unfair equivalence. Forty hours,
a hundred and fifty thousand
crocuses later, just one kilo sells
for at least thirteen hundred pounds...
Inside her meagre hut – cooks
half a cup of rice for her four kids...
each one – more than two days pay.
She may eat tomorrow, if she picks
ten thousand more...but only
if the weather is good...if
the rains don’t come.