She said the world was big, so be bold for it.
Mustard seeds and powdered spices froth in hot oil
She cupped my pubescent chin,
Only in the way a mother could
She drew me close, registered my face;
Kindness flickered in her eye,
She smiled, for she had witnessed time
But, she saw adventure dance in my heart.
She said the world would be cruel, so remember who you are.
In went the chopped okra and cubed potatoes
With a splash, the vegetables sweat
In the simmering, in the heat
Making sounds of the sea
Waiting for a sign of obedience, of acknowledgement
She smiled, for she saw I had heard
But, she knew my soul would dare.
She said the world would be beautiful, so embrace its glory.
The lid danced atop the covered pan
Flavors formed and the curried fragrance,
Floated from her kingdom to conquer the house
She smiled blankly
Like she replayed a distant memory
She enveloped me in her soft embrace
But, she felt my teeming rebellion so strong.
She said the world would be kind, so stay humble.
Craning for her final ingredient,
She reached out for salt on the shelf;
I saw her earth-colored belly,
That nourished me to life
Slightly exposed through her poly-cotton sari
She smiled her smile
And, she knew I would understand someday too.
She said the world would be insane, so search for stillness.
And into the parlor, I hopped behind her
Gathering paper from an old exercise book
Marked in faded blue biro scribbling,
I watched as she folded and created
A paper boat with an anchor
And, placed it in a puddle of rain water
Drifting in the wind, garnering momentum
It set sail.
Author: Neelam Tewar
Apprentice Editor: Pat Steele Nielsen / Editor: Toby Israel
Image: Moyan Brenn/flickr