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My mother
Is not as young as she used to be
This much is apparent

With the ever growing number of gray hairs
The rub of a sore back
The occasional sigh of exhaustion

So I help her

I open the windows
All of the windows in the house
Encouraging the air
To circulate through our home
Knowing that it won’t do anything

She places a knife in front of me
And a tomato on a cutting board
And I start dicing it

Not very well, though
The pulp oozing between my fingers
The tomato bruising under my grip

She rolls her eyes
And pulls the cutting board from beneath my hands
I surrender the knife
And she finishes the job

The tomato now lying
As a neat pile of red chunks

She goes back to stirring a few pots on the stove
Sizzling and crackling over the droning exhaust fan

She turns her head towards me
Points to our spice cabinet
And tells me to bring her some bottles

I need a minute
To process her words


Yelakulu

Cardamom

Lavangalu

Cloves

Dalchini chekka

Cinnamon


Jilakarra


Cumin

I juggle the jars
Carefully placing them
On the granite counter top

As I walk past
She grabs my sleeve
And sticks her nose
In the cloth of my worn sweatshirt

She breathes in
Releases me
And shoves me away
From the sizzling stove

“Move”
She hollers

“You’re already starting
To smell like curry”

I sniff my sleeve

I smell the bite of the onion
The warmth of our jarred spices
The earthy ginger


Oh

She’s right





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