Valentines: “A Mouthful of Sky” by Preeti Vangani

A Mouthful of Sky

Ghee fattened, crispy bites of koki flake and crumble 
in my mouth, pomegranate seeds tang my tongue

amid the coriander and onions, I’ve chopped tinier
than stars, how they contrast the carom and cumin.

Tonight, indeed, my koki is better than mummy’s. 
A lie I tell myself to feel accomplished or in her vicinity. 

I’ll never be a useless woman flipping kokis 
puffs my throat the way fire transpires 

from griddle to finger. I sip away ordinary guilt 
like water. Praise the air that stayed, the patience 

I grew to not overwork the dough, sticky flour 
encroaching my nails that as a girl I double-coated

black and sucked on pen caps, pretending they were
cigarettes and I, a modern lady. Even if allowed work

you should know how to feed— how did she season
her heart to serve lessons as these, my mother, wedded

at twenty one and a half. Crop topped and bell bottomed, 
stripped by marriage into mandatory salwars and kurtas 

and every kurta, a proxy dishrag. How neither of us
were made to debut in the kitchen out of our own 

physical hunger, except if you believe grief too has a growl, 
has a belly. Except despite my care and caution 

to mince and mix what can fleetingly wound me, 
a waning crescent of chilli suddenly sugars my teeth. 

Green & seedy, the way she passed, it tingles 
and ricochets between my ears. 

About Preeti Vangani

Preeti Vangani is a poet & personal essayist. She is the author of Mother Tongue Apologize (RLFPA Editions), her first book of poems ( winner of RL India Poetry Prize.) Her work has been published in  BOAAT, Gulf Coast, Threepenny Review among other journals. She is the Poetry Editor for Glass, a Poet Mentor at Youth Speaks and holds an MFA (Writing) from University of San Francisco.