Ode to Gumbo by Chris Tusa
after Sue Owen
Born from flour anointed with oil,
from a roux dark and mean as a horseâ€™s breath,
you remind me of some strange, mystical stew
spawned from a muddy version of Macbeth.
Only someoneâ€™s replaced the spells with spices,
the witches with a Cajun chef.
Maybe youâ€™re a recipe torn from Satanâ€™s Cookbook,
a kind of dumb-downed devilâ€™s brew
where evil stirs its wicked spoon
in a swampy sacrificial hue.
Maybe God damned the okra that thickens
your soup, the muddy bones that haunt your stew.
Maybe this is why, when we smell the cayenne,
weâ€™re struck dumb as a moth.
Maybe this is why everything that crawls or flies
seems to find its way into your swampy broth.