My father’s fingers swallow the wood
as they massage chunks of tomato
oozing bubbled blood into the skin
of unpeeled onions, crinkling
like the newspaper he buries his dark
nose into each morning, festooned
with little brown bindis. My father
does not know how to cook anything
save his own body—thick with lassi,
mother’s milk, fermented. Cow’s breast
blending with thighs of chicken, choked
with cardamom. Animals forget how to walk
when far from home. My father lifts spoon
to mouth and wraps lips around hot metal
marred by the taste of Indian blood. He kisses
the congeries of his memory. Little brown boy
on step stool, bare chest burnt by red sun.
Mother of no daughters grinding nutmeg
against stone, recipes against bone.
Divya Mehrish is a writer from New York. Her work has been longlisted at the UK Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition, and commended by the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award as well as the Scholastic Writing Awards, which named her recipient of five National Gold and Silver Medals. In 2019, she won the Arizona State Poetry Society Contest and the New York Browning Society Poetry Contest. Her work appears in or is forthcoming in PANK, Ricochet Review, Tulane Review, Polyphony Lit, The Battering Ram, The Ephimiliar Journal, Sandcutters, The Kitchen Poet, Fingerprints, Body Without Organs, and Amtrak’s magazine The National.