How to be old—we're all learning

Home kitchen after travel — a poem

Kim chi fermenting in the foreground. Kombucha takes a back seat.

Travel may broaden the mind but
my mind shrinks when I return
and I wallow in the narrows
of my bed my own my own
my ABC my darling Zed

my own marigolds on the window ledge
my own hodge-podge in my own fridge
and I make silly salads with redundant veg
and I wall myself inside
my home, my sweet retreat.

But there’s something missing from my larder
so I crash the border to retrieve
the colour and the heat
and the flavour and the jolt and the wallop
of the land of many Ks

and I fling into a frenzy of salting
and rinsing and slicing
and mixing and spreading
and pressing and sealing
my very first batch of kim chi.