1 min read

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, 

a palindrome, 

a noose. 

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; 

I plead

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.

* The email will not be published on the website.