I don’t mean when a movie ends,
as in, it’s a! Nor tortillas splitting
with the heavy wet of bean.
And I don’t mean what you do
with your lavender robe—all fluff
and socks—to snatch the paper
from the shrubs. Nor the promise
of a gift, the curl and furl of red ribbon
just begging to be tugged. What I mean
is waiting with my grandmama (a pause
in the Monsoon) at the Trivandrum airport
for a jeep. Her small hand wraps
again the emerald green pallu of her sari
tucked in at her hips, across her breast,
and coughs it up over her shoulder—a hush
of paprika and burnt honey across my face.
From Miracle Fruit by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Copyright © 2003 by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Reprinted by permission of Tupelo Press. All rights reserved.