Settled in his haven by the West’s eastern edge,
a mustached refugee crushes pistachios
as he confects bonbons by the dozen,
molten goop overflowing trays whose molds
now include maple leafs and syrup in addition
to the traditional roses, pyramids, and hearts,
a heartfelt gesture toward a promising land
wherein his familial fortunes have revived.

Aromas of cocoa, honey, hazelnuts, and almonds
permeate the factory, arousing memories
of his grandmother’s saccharine kitchen,
blaring speakers calling believers to prayer,
the strum of the oud, bubbling hookah pipes,
the scent of jasmine in the Old City,
warm desert winds in the afternoon,
and the stark aftermath of missiles.

The recipes, gourmet and carefully guarded,
once the envy of Syrian rivals, have adjusted:
newly detectable in sectile sheets of milk and dark
chocolate is a bittersweet soupçon, the flavor
of nostalgia for a homeland damned
by sinister twins, terrorism and tyranny,
though this taste is balanced by another note,
full and rich, the secret ingredient of gratitude.


Published at Armarola