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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press


By: Samantha Melamed


Amid fields of the 

gorgeous purple upon

Iranian soil in a 

dry, dry heat,

calloused hands

under bent backs

pluck the stigmata

of the crocus in its

bloom that one

rare week.


How I’d be so 

lucky to come across

the sprig of the

spice,  or its bottled

potion, with a note

hugging its neck

under rawhide

string:  Drink

me and you’ll

be happy. I 

hadn’t known

the meaning of

the word in so, so

long. So I bathed 

in mare’s milk, saffron-

steeped, before

seeing you. Then I 

wore it on my lips.


From my sojourn, I 

can see a Temple

atop a mountain—

where a huddled

group of bald monks

glaze their manuscripts

with a punch of

its radiation, a 

shrilling luster.


The same kick of

color that will cry

bright, flamboyant

hubris because it

flares starkly and

heretically in four hundred

years. We mustn’t

eat such passion, but

if you’re of affluence

and elegance, it can 

cure all ailments, so

long as you seek its promise.


When the plagued

lay putrid and dead

in piles along nooks where

street meets sidewalk

rings of roses spot their

flesh. Like hay, it’s spread

upon the grounds of

Rome to perfume the

public. The spice is drunk

to stay alive.


And so, I pass it

on to you—it could

mean joy, it could

mean pleasure—

and either way it

works when I feel

you:  stiff, bulging, and

then bursting inside

of me, like I

consume you too in

the act.

I eat it , now, to 


to remember.  


"The poem follows saffron as it traverses the world and human history— the intersection of food and value, and my own identity through it all"


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