(not quite) a literary journal


Olive Wood Mother Spoon and This is Not a Form of Play, by Rita Mookerjee

Olive Wood Mother Spoon

The olive wood mother spoon is petite, brown,
and $73. You can’t put the olive wood mother 
spoon in soapy water or sunlight, it can’t go in 
the dishwasher, it must air dry.

Its creator, a woman called Samina
gives her utensils their names because
after spending hours with them in her Tuscany studio,
she says they begin to feel like parents.

Nothing says deep family ties like artisanal woodworking. 
Of the utensils, the mother spoon is the widest: 
“ideal for big pots of soup.” My mother might 
not appreciate that comparison, though she makes soup often:

black bean, tomato. She serves it with a ladle. 
In truth, the mother spoon looks quite fine
for what she is: a spoon. Much of the wood used 

is listed as salvaged or reclaimed; isn’t all wood reclaimed from trees? 
Samina and Andrea Brugi identify as innovators and lovers 
of the olive groves in Montemerano a town that you’ve never 
heard of because less than 400 people live there.

The Brugis work in their Tuscan studio making forks 
and cutting boards. Maybe they sand together,
maybe they whittle. Maybe at the end of a big 
batch of mother or father spoons

they take the scraps and carve olive wood children
a butter spreader, a teaspoon. The happiest family. 

This Is Not A Form Of Play

The Mayas sought your tails for fertility 
queer paws tipped in pink cones
country drifter city crawler lover of corners
your hiss your teeth
you are not brash

you skirt the wayward raccoon
you are far smarter than people who 
build house after house ripping beds from floors from walls
you shroud yourself in neglected pockets 
leaving labor to rabbits and lesser beings
digging would be a waste of your skill
you can recall your favorite meals 
and lead yourself to corn fields
to apples to onions you are 
cautious when thieving eggs
each dull diamond in the straw 
the moon in a rosy hand
wander far, possum, leave the farm before daybreak
life is easier when you
keep to yourself and you have done the best job
your fainting your rigidity 
the elegant clench of your curled spine
this is not a form of play 
play is a luxury afforded to those who daywalk
play is the pastime of the aggressor no 
all of your acts have a function
each performance curated for some dire purpose
the froth between your teeth 
like the surge of high tide 
come to persuade
those who linger 

I often see you on roadsides
sidesplit in the margins red matter 
still I find you lucky
enjoying night as it was meant to be enjoyed
sharing the wise palate of the pig
sparing yourself no delicacy 
thriving in places where people forget to look
people forget so much.

Tip Jar

Rita Mookerjee's poetry is featured or forthcoming in Aaduna, New Delta Review, GlitterMOB, Berfrois, and Cosmonauts Avenue. Her critical work has been featured in the Routledge Companion of Literature and Food, the Bloomsbury Handbook to Literary and Cultural Theory, and the Bloomsbury Handbook of Twenty-First Century Feminist Theory. 

art by Erick Pedersen