[the poetry billboard] - 'Other Kinds of Seeds' by Balli Jaswal
Other Kinds of Seeds

Balli Jaswal

Last night we sneaked into the kitchen
to push lumps of sticky brown sugar into
our lips, pursed so no one would hear us laughing.

Your nose twitched and you followed the scents of
our pantry, stocked with bags of rice and tins filled with
powders that permanently stained the bands on my braces.

“Onions are weird,” you said, crossing your arms over your
chest. You’ve never seen them though, and how their outlines
are like temple domes. At restaurants, your parents make

sure the waiters know that they don’t want any and bring
breath mints along with them just in case. My family doesn’t
believe in pepper while yours may experiment with it from time to time.

My house smells like the food we eat, thick sauces that sizzle
in black cardamom seed residue. My taste buds have great faith
in the recipe book my mother keeps in her heart which says that

tomatoes are identical to plain yogurt,
though if you challenged me to tell you how, I’d shrug
and say that she was mistaken.