‘Pig’s foot, pig’s foot!’
My mother vaults the words over
the Woolie’s meat counter,
shouting it louder and louder
just as she called family names across
the flat, white roofs of her village.
No friendly echo here,
just a sneer from
the Anglo girl guarding
lamb chops, Epping sausages and
a mesmerising log of mettwurst.
My five-year-old eyes
scale the skyscraper of curved glass,
roll with the sweep
of my mother’s semaphore,
reel back to the rufous cheeks of
the Viking-blonde meat-maiden,
queen of this carnal Valhalla,
whose satellite-dish ears are
too rusted to receive
this new Australian’s signal.
‘Peeg’s fooot, peeg’s fooot, heeve peeg’s foot?’
The alien sounds thicken
into a stew of stretched English vowels
and lisped consonants
splattering from her lips.
‘Peeg’s fooot, peeg’s fooot,’
she mimes a charade
of the pig’s trotter my father needs
to make the pork in aspic dish
he continued to cook
until his last days in this diaspora.
Her query hangs,
frantic and unrequited
in the supermarket’s redolent air
and we go without that magic bowl
with its little sea of soupy jelly,
bay leaf, pepper and pork,
the throw-away parts of the pig.
They, the poor,
used all the animal
slaughtered in the names of their saints
and only ever on Holy feasts.
it was just beans and bread.
Maria Vouis is an emerging poet who specialises in form, Spoken Word and poetic craft, teaching adults and younger students. In 2018 she won a manuscript prize for Friendly Street New Poets 19, called ‘Eye Print’, judged by Thom Sullivan. She was also a finalist in the Goolwa 2017 Poetry Slam for Mr Lizard Lips. She sings, speaks and writes poetry.