My Mother’s Kitchen

By | 13 May 2024

sunlight, a generous splash
the gentle simmer of bhajans
vegetables, greenhoused
in Melbourne
an ancestral pantry, pulsing
with pulses, nuts, aata
and sundry
the (e)motions of mortar-and-pestles
the sturdiness of a tawa
extended-family-sized pots, multiple
her pista barfi, un-substitutable
tides of tea
and waves of hasee, optional
but inevitable

Walk into an air of aromatics
Kiss her as she balloons roti
Sense your pupils burgeon at
golden dhal silked with ghee
coppery pumpkin beauty-spotted with mustard seeds
and on the centre hob, bubbling like a boss, vermilion chicken curry
jewelled with cloves and cardamon pods
Beware: at the reveal of her cassava chips, childhood will rise
to the surface. Munch immediately
to avoid the burst. Now you’re primed for her sill life request:
three heirloom tomatoes, a purple onion, fresh coriander
and the obligatory green chilli
Slot into your teenage role and chop your answer into a bowl. Now you’re ready
to eat with your bare hand. Beware: this method activates the lineage
of love. Preserve it with jaggery and salt.

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