oil spits like my grandmother’s fury
from this battered pan
onto the crescent tautness of my belly
the tail of my georgette saree irks,
like chattering foremothers, bitter and blue
so I loop it around my waist;
watch it choke on its own laughter
like a limerick,
I lap up sickly chai
from a lukewarm cup
and make-believe a wand of my spatula
—this is why I leave the cooking to you, darling—
my hair dangles like a half-woven tapestry,
licking the ink on my collarbones
I strain my neck;
to the very God I forsook
when I bled between my legs,
and they disallowed me from prayer
it is Sunday; and the first rain of the season
is finding refuge in the crow’s feet
around your eyes.
it is Sunday; and this is how I’m trying to love you today
—beyond belief, trial by custom,
as failure festers on the plate I bring your way—
I promise you, this is love
this burnished, flour-fed inedibility,
this chutney with its spice taking water
and running rivers
the length of the beaten ceramic,
is love at its most erroneous.
there are easier ways,
but as I embody kitchen-clownery
for my kinswomen to watch;
there is no alarm.
you smile, because you know
this how I have chosen to love you today.
Rhea Sharma is a copywriter and author from Dehradun, India. Her first novella Milky Tea & Vodka was published by Terribly Tiny Tales in 2020. She has also been published by Penguin India, Writer’s Pocket, and Aster Lit. She likes to write poetry that voices her vulnerabilities, and there are loads of those. Inspiration isn’t an issue; the lack of enough caffeine sometimes is.