(Eds Note: Landai is a specially prepared dried meat, and is a traditional Afghan food)

One autumn day when the air was filled
With wood smoke, when the sun

Twinkled from behind blown clouds
When the wind puffed up the trees, we asked our mom

“Could you prepare landai for the winter?”
“Yes,” she said, “but you must help me.”

We all promised to help, my sisters and I.
Our parents brought a beautiful plump sheep.

The butcher slaughtered the woolly brown sheep
Hung it in a tree to remove its intestines

He cut the meat in one big piece
Separated its liver, its kidney

Mom prepared the meat, sprinkled salt over it
The kitchen air filled with the meat’s scent

The copper smell of raw meat and the waxy scent of fat
Worked their way through ever corner of the kitchen

Whenever mom prepares landai and boils turnips
The turnips I eat smell of the earth
Reminding us of snowy winter days

My mother put the meat with salt in a big basin for half day
Then she drew the water off to ready it for hanging
Put it under the sun’s rays
Until all the water evaporated, leaving the husk of the sheep

The sun prepares good landai
We were happy that day
Knowing we would have dried meat
On winter days

By Freshta