I belong in the kitchen, washing dishes keeping them back warming food crying on the floor silently so the men aren't disturbed next to my mom sweat - ridden, grinding spices for the next day reminiscing her teenage as she sees me feel at home in the steel plate looking right at me with my eyes bloodshot my mom smiles and tells me about her first time in our kitchen. and we hear a sound. it's my grandma wishing us a good morning before boiling the milk I ask her why the sun's still asleep "maybe he's a man" and we laugh. her hand topples the boiling milk- she's careful to not shriek the three of us, hands with burn marks pain the least of our worries the sun rises, my mom throws in the spices and I get burn spots on my cheeks too sweat, tears, blood, skin, silence in the kitchen the only place we know and belong to on the floor, in front of the stove and bartans like tattoos on our foreheads complimentary with the uteruses like taboos on everyone I touch I look at myself in the steel plate my mom too felt the knives on my breast the suns sit down and eat "your arms are unbearable to see- leave" so I drop the spoon and return to my home. the kitchen.
By Himangi Nair
In collaboration with YWMTU (@yourwordsmattertous)