Sunday Writing Prompt “The Cinnamon Peeler- Michael Ondaatje”

Use the above poem for inspiration for a story or poem

The Cinnamon Peeler
If I were a cinnamon peeler
I would ride your bed
and leave the yellow bark dust
on your pillow.

Your breasts and shoulders would reek
you could never walk through markets
without the profession of my fingers
floating over you. The blind would
stumble certain of whom they approached
though you might bathe
under rain gutters, monsoon.

Here on the upper thigh
at this smooth pasture
neighbour to your hair
or the crease
that cuts your back. This ankle.
You will be known among strangers
as the cinnamon peeler’s wife.

I could hardly glance at you
before marriage
never touch you
– your keen nosed mother, your rough brothers.
I buried my hands
in saffron, disguised them
over smoking tar,
helped the honey gatherers . . .

When we swam once
I touched you in water
and our bodies remained free,
you could hold me and be blind of smell.
You climbed the bank and said

this is how you touch other women
the grass cutter’s wife, the lime burner’s daughter.
And you searched your arms
for the missing perfume

and knew

what good is it
to be the lime burner’s daughter
left with no trace
as if not spoken to in the act of love
as if wounded without the pleasure of a scar.

You touched
your belly to my hands
in the dry air and said
I am the cinnamon
peeler’s wife. Smell me.


    • Thanks you so much as always! I tried to email but your addresses bounced so here it is You know I have heavy periods and I take progesterone to stop them? I think you also know I have had 2 LEEP procedures to remove cancer cells from the cervix, both caught very early both treated with just the surgery, both times everything was removed and normal paps after. Although I am free of the cells the surgeries have left my cervix almost nonexistent but scarred and because of it they can’t look inside and see about my uterus. So today I went in for a consultation for a hysterectomy. I will keep my ovaries if they are healthy and we think they are healthy but they will take the uterus, the Fallopian tubes, and the little bit of left over cervix. I will have to do an abdominal hysterectomy not my top pick but my cervix would cause too many complications and in both vaginal and laparoscopy they remove the uterus through the vagina but my cervix doesn’t really work to let things pass through not even a small tube now so. That will be sometime in January and I will need like 4 weeks minimum off of work.


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