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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 1: January 2020
Prose Poem: 189 words
By Lorette C. Luzajic

Gypsy Bisque

—After White Soup Bowl (1810) by Anne Vallayer-Coster

The warm soil scent of fresh tomatoes takes me to your funeral. It was late August, and my mother’s garden was overflowing. Baseball tomatoes, perfectly round, heaped in bushels. Pancake tomatoes, broad and flat as fava beans. Lumpy tomatoes, splitting, spilling pulpy seed stuffing, sewn back together by sun and rain.

You showed me how to make gypsy soup: it was nothing but flour and tomatoes, with a lot of paprika and a little bit of bacon or butter. You’ll never go hungry, you said, stirring Serbia tenderly with a long wooden spoon. We added cashews, and cracked black pepper, with poetic license.

If only I knew what I was getting myself into, I think. But then, I think, I did. I was in trouble the moment I sat down at your table. You slid the tureen, the loaf, towards me, the wedge of fat for the bread, the small dish spilling caraway. You looked at me straight on, then blew on the soup to tame its boil, but still I dove headlong into that burning ring of fire.

White Soup Bowl: painting by Anne Vallayer-Coster

Publisher’s Note:

The original oil-on-canvas painting White Soup Bowl (La jatte blanche, 1810), by Anne Vallayer-Coster (1744–1818), resides in a private collection. The reproduction above was downloaded from The Athenaeum.

Lorette C. Luzajic
Issue 1, January 2020

studied journalism at Ryerson University, but went on to pursue creative writing and visual art after graduating. The author of more than 20 books, she writes most often about art, travel, and interesting people. She has several books of essays on these subjects, as well as four of poetry, with a fifth collection featuring ekphrastic prose poetry underway.

Ms. Luzajic is the founder and editor of The Ekphrastic Review (established 2015), a publication devoted exclusively to publishing poetry and prose inspired by visual art. Her own prose and poems have appeared in hundreds of publications, including Bookslut, Calliope, Cargo Literary, Cultural Weekly, Everyday Poetry, the Fiddlehead, Grain, Indelible, KYSO Flash, Main Street Rag, Misfit, Nine Muses Poetry, Peacock Journal, Rattle, Taxicab Mag, and Wild Word, as well as in numerous anthologies such as Unsheathed (ed. Betsy Mars, Kingly Street Press) and The Group of Seven Reimagined (ed. Karen Schauber, Heritage Books).

Her writing has been nominated twice for the Best of the Net award and twice for the Pushcart Prize, and her award-winning mixed-media artwork has been exhibited around the world, from the Royal Ontario Museum to Mexico to Tunisia.

Artist’s website: www.mixedupmedia.ca

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