‘Market Days’ by Kay Ritchie

Past shanty towns, (migrants washed up on
angry shores), to buy piri peppers
from Mozambique, figs, almonds, Angolan
coffee and fish with names like an angler’s
hook caught in the throat; Preta teaching me
to barter, to prod, check scales, gills, flesh, eyes,
showing me to soak salt cod, sharing me
bacalhao recipes for all the days
of the year… then home to gut, chop, clean,
while old records play on the gramophone
(Brazilian, African, Cabo Verdean)
and we’re dancing, eyes shining, flesh flushed; on
a scale of one to ten we’re high — saucy and hot
as that caldeirada sizzling the pot.

 appeared in Shorelines 2012

Kay Ritchie grew up in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and has lived in London, Spain and Portugal. She has worked as both a freelance photographer and a radio producer. Ritchie’s work has been published in Tracks in the Sand, Shorelines, The Glad Rag, Black Middens, Treasures, Making Waves, Gutter, A Star in the Hand, The Belonging Project & Honest Error. She has performed at Aye Write, Billion Women Rising, Women’s Aid 40th anniversary, Phenomenal Women, Wild Women @ Glasgow Women’s Library, 100 Poets read 100 Poems & Celebrating Belonging to mark Scottish Refugee Week.


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