Before We Knew English - Poem by Elia Michael
Recently arrived in this country
We wanted to make mahalebi
A wobbly dessert with rosewater
So a mother said to her daughter
Go to the street corner shop and get
What we want. It comes in a packet
With birds on it - so off she did go
Found one with a robin in the snow
And bought it and brought it to our house
And I watched as quiet as a mouse
While they all made some mahalebi
Sprinkling rosewater liberally
On our plate we all had quite a bit
We were all so eager to eat it
Spoon to my mouth - - - - - Ugh, it's vile! I said
All agreed and their faces were red
With embarrassment for what was bought
Was not the ingredient they thought
It was starch used for making shirts stiff!
By chance it was harmless but what if...?
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