‘Tasting Note for Grief #17’ by Karen McCarthy Woolf

Tasting Note for Grief #17
after Do Ho Suh’s Staircase 3

Long and complex on the palate
rage attacks the tastebuds,
a territorial robin whose wings
coruscate the epiglottis, insidious
as rust in a cut. Her jaw
has started to clamp. Remembering
is a port wine stain.
                    Similes are useless
on this red staircase
that ascends:
an upside down madder root
feeling its way to the sky.
She has become a connoisseur
of its avoided flavours’ Titian hues.
The nose has notes of cherry soda,
ginger biscuit, sang de boeuf.
This is one for laying down:
it will keep for years under the earth.
(First published in Tate Modern’s Poetry From Art 2011 anthology. An image of Do Huh’s Staircase 3 can be viewed here)

Karen McCarthy Woolf‘s poetry is widely published, most recently in Poetry Review and Poetry Wales. She is currently Writer in Residence at The November Project – a tidal power sustainability initiative on the River Thames. Follow her on Twitter @KMcCarthyWoolf

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