Are the items most frequently listed for my grocery getting. When I check off each item on my phone, I wonder if I should just uncheck it for next week’s go round. To switch it up, I’ll get different cheeses. Or hummus. Even a zucchini. God knows which vitamins I’m overloading or lacking. I dare not try to find out and alter my recurring list.
That wasn’t how it was. Half a life ago meals were full of turmeric and cloves and mustard seeds. Lentils and peas and eggplant delight. My mom’s hands are art. Her rhythmic strokes are apparent in watercolor, hair braiding, and deep frying. Prettiness is ubiquitous with her touch. Her salads present perfectly married greens, a balanced spice profile, topped with pomegranate gems.
I remember that with beauty comes the beast. “That okra is too expensive.” “Don’t put too much ghee on the roti.” “You’re wasting your food!” So many moving parts would come together for her delicacies, but they gave rise to my shoulders. Froze my initiative. Beleaguered my soul. What was normal half a life ago is simplified now. A basic list. Week after week.
I don’t dislike cooking. But recipes with ingredients galore revive the tension of not enough. I recall Saturday mornings milling through coupons while going between the sales at four grocery stores. I always missed Saturday morning cartoons. They were a mystery to me. I was a fake kid. A grown-up kid. Not a kid.
I get to shop for myself now. When I’m armed with a coupon, I rejoice in my roots. But having the choice offers Saturday mornings all to myself. I eat a breakfast of eggs, cheese, meat, and spinach with a dose of my favorite TV.
by Nisha Mody
Nisha Mody is a librarian, writer, and cat mom. She hails from Chicago and currently lives in Los Angeles. Her writing has been published in Everyday Feminism, Role Reboot, and Chicago Literati. Follow her on Twitter @nishamody.
The father with oil stains on his button-down shirt is enraged he cannot find a golf course in Tijuana. A perverse butt of a chewed cigar hangs on his lower lip flaking tarred edges onto his chin. Spitting slurs he moves among the crowd, his daughter twisting underneath him. He insists people are lying to him. He demands knowledge. The crowd parts to make room, turning three-quarters to observe the spectacle.
One man steps out from the crowd to direct the father. He takes contained steps, edging the Big Man and little daughter to a lone paradise.
It is safer with only daughter, father, tantrums. No audience. Ghosts of trees and annihilated bushes and flowers haunt a cloudless sky. White bright light. Mule-like a caddy follows on the heels of the father (as does his 5 year old), rolling over green dominated hills.
Mastery of this game consists in striking precisely in order to sink wrinkled white balls into an abyss,
dark narrow curved
On again off again: padding, spitting, squinting. Relentless pursuit meets relentless failure.
Squint, shift voluminous hips, pad torn yellowed turf, aim.
Sweatily he goes, quarters ripping holes in his shorts, to the pinball machine, which he strikes with his hip and bangs more successfully. The daughter steps on a milkcrate and wraps her arms around the width of the machine. The father goads, then yells at her for losing.
At five this ends. A Siren sounds. He responds as if he had been waiting his life for this signal. The casinos are open! He wanders, the weight of his belly speeding him down paved roads towards machines and tables where he’ll work to forget people, the world and people in the world. He never gets far enough away into the fog to make them disappear.
by Patricia Coleman
Patricia Coleman is a writer/director whose pieces have appeared or will be appearing in presses including Bennington Review, Maintenant 11, Poetica, PAJ, Bomb and The New Review of Literature. She has staged 25+ productions at venues including The Kitchen, Chashama, and JACK. Her adaptation of Euripdes’ Medea was performed by glass-blowers and puppeteers at Brooklyn Glass in 2014.
An Essay on Indifference
the technology was basic and difficult to understand
the outside seemed to have removed itself from interference
as in vice applied to territory as in acceptance of questionable forethought
as in don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone
No One appeared like a young boy popping out of a white shirt
No One said this No One only had to (you’re back let’s get it over with)
every agent doubled every unsung witness
no limp but each careful verbal shoe still lisping
No One knew the workers were already detached (you could open them all
with hinges placed at inappropriate but functional locations)
as in will you skate with my terrible monkey
as in honoring the bright intrusions of ice cream
each one emitted a solvent suggesting the activities of deciduous bees
each one chalky with deposits worried and singing (scanned for hidden pleasures)
as in delightful with errant salvage
as in beautifully mistaken narratives of gathering
delicate ice gathered therefore in persuasion of a fish-skin purse
No One found in this the thawing joker
as in a testimony as in A Testimony
as in clarity: inadequate
a variety of phonetic closet-signal remained as yet uncatalogued
in favor of a fluid thrush caged in aspic (parenthetically speaking)
as in cautiously following my anticipatory shoes
as in a small life of delicate conveyance
No One arrived on time for the several precautionary proceedings because
No One was not there to merely notice
that’s not always what No One does when you ignore No One
in the rain he looks old again as in the snow unborn
No One has told the truth so much about having fun he’ll have to lie about the sadness
he really doesn’t know which irony that is which gives the sadness a certain pleasure
by Rich Ives
Rich Ives has received grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission and the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines for his work in poetry, fiction, editing, publishing, translation and photography. His writing has appeared in Verse, North American Review, Massachusetts Review, Northwest Review, Quarterly West, Iowa Review, Poetry Northwest, Virginia Quarterly Review, Fiction Daily and many more. He is the 2009 winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander. He has been nominated seven times for the Pushcart Prize. He is the 2012 winner of the Thin Air Creative Nonfiction Award. His books include Light from a Small Brown Bird (Bitter Oleander Press–poetry), Sharpen (The Newer York-fiction chapbook), The Ballooon Containing the Water Containing the Narrative Begins Leaking-What Books) and Tunneling to the Moon (Silenced Press–hybrid).