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by Nirvan Hope


You quietly approach my booth in the farmers market. Wrapped in a gray veiled cloak of mystery, revealing wise moon eyes that smile from hidden feminine depths within, you greet me as a friend with a soft song to Allah, "Asalaam aleikum". Carefully lifting a corner of the niqab that masks your nose and lips, you taste a sample from the dipping jar of liquid gold.

Sharing secrets of time-honored wisdom and ancient lore, ways of woman, healer, mother and Goddess, you offer a sweet recipe, a natural remedy from grandmothers, ancient sisters, gatherers of herbs and harvesters of the wild: a simple formula for healing, another bridge across the lines of race, religion and belief.

black seeds
of an onion
in a spoonful of honey

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First appeared in Flutter Poetry Journal, May 2008.

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Nirvan Hope is the author of the forthcoming book Three Seasons of Bees and Other Natural and Unnatural Things. She writes and takes photographs in the Pacific Northwest and is currently working on a memoir set in England and Northern Nigeria. Her work has appeared in regional, national and international publications.

What inspires you to write and keep writing?

My work is inspired by many things: something that catches my eye, or a conversation, an idea that wakes me in the middle of the night. I have to write it down to remember it, to return to it again and again to re-experience the original spark, like looking through a photo album. Writing becomes a habit for me, an addiction to the pleasure of creative wordplay, enjoyment of total absorption in the moment.