table d’hôte

Braudel of France said live in London a year you will not know London

but France you will know deeper[1]

I say

live in Cape Town a year

be uniquely dazzled   冰糖葫蘆[2]  

syrup lacquered fruit ice water dip

live in Johannesburg for seven 

tap the expanse of Southern Africa   barazi[3] 

peas ample from two night soak

visit wine capital Stellenbosch twice   الشاي[4]

mint rinsed in first splash of boiled water

be scalded by inequalities sousing all of these


[1] See On History, by Fernand Braudel (University of Chicago Press 1989), originally, Ecrits sur l’histoire (Flammarion 1969).

[2] Latin: bīngtáng húlu/rock sugar calabash; snack of Northern China

[3] Breakfast dish of Swahili coast

[4] Latin: it-tay/Moroccan mint tea

Salimah Valiani is a poet, activist, and researcher. Her poetry collection, 29 leads to love (Inanna 2021), is the 2022 winner of the International Book Award for Contemporary Poetry. She has published four other poetry collections: breathing for breath (TSAR), Letter Out: Letter In (Inanna), land of the sky (Inanna), and Cradles (Daraja). Her story-poem, “Dear South Africa,” was selected for Praxis Magazine‘s 2019-2020 Online Chapbook Series. Her audio book, Love Pandemic, has just been released by Daraja Press. She lives in many places and crosses borders regularly. Find her on Facebook at SalimahValianiPoet.

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