Toast (a poem published in Cordite Poetry Review)
My poem ‘Toast’ has just been published in Cordite 104: KIN. The piece is about my evolving relationship with my Russian heritage while (mostly) growing up in Australia.
Vegemite on toast is what the locals eat around here.
not sure we can call ourselves that, with our lack
of pantry. a few shelves of Home Brand basics:
my childhood. sometimes news in the morning.
toast is what my father started eating as dessert
as soon as he could afford a toaster. a luxury, he
called it. guess that’s why it was dessert. Мама
would never touch it. she used to visit the Russian
supermarket when it was still open. guess it’s not
needed anymore. i remember the store in Melbourne
where Папа used to buy me глазированный сырки. don’t Google
Translate that. doesn’t sound too appetising in English.
toast is what we became when Папа lost his job
some years later. by then all the Russian supermarkets had
been declared redundant, like him. guess we’re expected to
assimilate. forget our old comforts and eat Vegemite
on toast. last month Мама cried when her friend
sent us a box brimming with Russian sweets. i sat alone
in the corner nibbling on toast. Мама told me to speak,
to smile. the dry crust scraped my throat tongueless.
Read ‘Toast’ in Cordite here, along with the rest of KIN.