The pistils stand on end—thin red reeds
in a tiny glass bottle. When dropped
into boiling water with rice
they turn yellow and suffuse
the rice with sunlight
and the fragrance of lotus petals.
Who among us knows the origin of saffron?
The price in man-hours,
the tedious work of Mediterranean fingers.
Four thousand flowers for an ounce.
Seventy thousand stamens hand-picked
from the heart of the crocus make one pound--
the dearest spice in the world.
Where does it all come from
the spices in our kitchen cabinet,
the food stocking the fridge,
the shirt on your back?
Ed Meek has had poems in The Sun, The Baltimore Review, The Paris Review. His new book of poems is High Tide. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with his wife Elizabeth and dog Mookie. Find Ed on Twitter, Facebook, or his website.Discover more from Ed Meek.