They call me the sour one with jellyfish skin.
Brewed in the dark cupboards of childhood,
I'm mistress of process, queen of fermentation.
Oh distant daughters, I'd do anything
for your approval, my beautiful brood
who call me the sour one with jellyfish skin.
Sidekick mood woman, evil other, not quite kin
but willing to raft oceans saltier than blood
I'm mistress of process, queen of fermentation
mummified in gauzy cheesecloth or muslin,
tinfoiled against light, dust, insects: jarred
until I become the sour one with jellyfish skin.
Any starter mother born from cider or wine
always leaves an element of luck. So knock on wood
your mistress of process, your queen of fermentation
finally takes. Then come down to dinner. Sing out the sting
of bitterness between us and feast on royal salad.
Praise song to the sour one with jellyfish skin,
coy mistress of process, step-queen of fermentation.
If you have any comments on this poem, Kate Sontag would be pleased to hear from you.