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Rochelle Mass


Grape leaves

Winnipeg and Marrakesh

By Rochelle Mass, former Winnipegger in Israel, posted March2, 2011

Layah took me out back to her vine
pointed to the largest leaves, snapped them off
smoothed them, piled one on the other
gave instructions:

these will make a pot full. 
Once you’ve filled them - 
boil till tender, then cool. 

In her kitchen I watched her hand
flatten each leaf - veins facing up. 
A maple leaf, I thought
but Layah wouldn’t know that. 

Roll the wide end first
fold in the sides
then roll tight toward the tip. 

I smiled to myself  -  a girl from Winnipeg
was going to fill grape leaves like Layah does
with rice and meat, chopped raisins and of course,
fresh coriander leaves, a dash of cumeric. 

By early evening a wide pan simmered on my stove
I ladled the sauce slowly
to keep each bundle – 40 in all -
folded on its belly.

Today my house is filled
with the aroma of Marrakesh  
my hands with shades of green
in lines fortune tellers read.

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Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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