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Cherry Dumplings This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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You stand at the rickety kitchen table,
both hands dipped in flour, cutting out
circles of flat-rolled dough
with a cup from the dusty glass cabinet
in the living room
(the one with my school photos tucked
into the door and the smell of old perfume lingering over the dusty beaded necklaces
coiled in the shot glasses clustered
toward the back).
The radio burbles its stories by the window,
every so often interrupting itself to play
soft, crackling music or call out the beeps
of the new hour.
I scoop teaspoons of fresh, pitted cherries onto each dough circle
cradled in my own floury palm,
pinch-twist the edge to seal in the filling;
the varenik lies in my hand: a lumpy,
straining crescent of anticipation.
Yours are always much neater than mine but
I tell myself that mine have character
so it's okay
A gentle reminder not to get the edges wet, or else the dough won't stick
I curse my carelessness a bit, but
your capable hands fix my mistake
(as always).
Your dark hair slips forward and you tuck the strands back
absent-mindedly,
flour smudging on your ear as the sun
streams in through the window,
air still but not stifling in the Russian
summer heat
of my grandparents' apartment.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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