for my mother
my mother used to make little rice balls
for me. she steamed and clattered about the
cramped mustard kitchen, filling a pot with
water, swelling and salting and songing
the grains, plating them like planets longing
for some lost centre, chirping, my mother,
o, she made me small small bhater mondo.
one morning away from ringing school bells
in fourteen perfect globular mouthfuls
she fed me her story, and uncooked dreams.
and although my fingers cannot craft rice
they do cling stickily to the grain
of history, ever remembering le monde—
the world of sacrifice between her hands.
Doyali Islam, "bhater mondo" from heft.
Copyright © 2019 by Doyali Islam. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
Source: heft (McClelland & Stewart, 2019)