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Ancient Grains

by Jenyth Jo


Ancient grains of ancient origins carried

across the sand and sea to bulk food bins.

Our grains have additive properties

like wheat plus rye becomes triticale.


My mom once told me grains are cereals,

her old-fashioned Quaker oats rolled

in boiling water on the coiled electric stove;

she stirred in raisins to unlump the clumps.


Ten years ago, no gluten-free aisle

today so many ways to prepare daily bread

Is it time to try something new?

Tiny teff, pre-historic einkorn, spelt, amaranth?


Harvest and holiday items invite me to enter

the store, but the aisles have changed again.

I’ll look through every grain to find my couscous.

Sorghum, farro, bulgar, and buckwheat


Here’s a bag of Harvest Grains -

a seasonal combination of red quinoa,

Italian orzo, Israeli couscous and baby chickpeas.

When cooked, plump particles look like fall.


If I spread all of them on my black ceramic cooktop,

which ones go together?  Do I arrange them

according to color or shape or size,

or swirl the grain into a mosaic?


I want to blend the singular seeds,

people this world with variety

combine the old worlds with the new

embrace our multi-grain community.