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૩।૨મ (daram) by Salimah Valiani

Quaz | May 27th, 2021 | poetry | No Comments

Poem

૩।૨મ (daram)*

sitting in a pomegranate-velour throne
in her public housing apartment
downtown Calgary
a refugee from 1972 Uganda
used to peel ૩।૨મ
and gift us with juicy
rubies to eat

अन२ (anaar)**

40 years on
living in Africa’s heartland of pomegranates
I learned formally
from a friend’s facebook the art of
peeling अन२

cutting down from the rose leather crown
dividing the fruit in 4
crossed parts

‘cross my heart’ she said
‘anaar is my favourite’

ગુલ।ખ mapera (gulab mapera)***

walking one day to visit a friend
my daughter-lover-of-pomegranates
spotted a pomegranate tree

so close to home yet never before seen

I recalled my parents
spotting ગુલ।ખ mapera
on the drive to Hana

fetching a stick
climbing the car roof
and tapping the branches to catch the riches

first time they’d seen them since 1950s East Africa

I told my daughter to find a stick
and I tapped the treasure
into her praying palms

kgaranata, umHalinadi****

though many came to Uganda
from South Africa
my mother recalls

I’ve met a handful
of South Africans who know
the pomegranate grew up
eating it

the way my late grandma’s apartment
was sold to developers
umHalinadi does not exist for the
majority

like the many migrants who revere it
the multi-gem fruit follows routes flowing
out

*Pomegranate in Gujarati
**Pomegranate in Hindi
***Literally rose guava in Gujarati mixed with Swahili. English name unknown.
****Pomegranate in Sepedi and isiZulu.

Poet Bio

Salimah Valiani’s next two collections, 29 leads to love, and Love Pandemic, will be released in June 2021. She loves to travel with Poetry Potion prompts.

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