I pause and rewind the Tiktokker,

his hands dicing an onion paper thin.

There is not one hiding among the murasaki

sweet potatoes I am saving in the corner

of the chipped pantry shelf, shallots substitute.

They hit the skillet with a sizzle, the pale purple

ghosts around the pan on a slip n’ slide

of olive oil. My mind skids towards my trust

in a bespectacled Romanian home chef,

instead of dialing Sameera’s mom so a gentle

voice could guide me through the spice aisle

towards the best curry powder you can find in 

a Michigan Meijer. But the video cover flashes

$2 Meals! in harsh blue light so I crack

open cans of chickpeas and run my fingers

along the serrated metal of tomato paste

lids, cobbling together an earthy aroma

that brings Sophie to my back, her forest

of curls draping over my shoulder. I wait

for a simmer, stirring up the cadmium orange sauce.

We dish up chickpea curry in shallow 

stoneware, cornflower blue, with fragrant basmati 

rice as rain plinks off the roof.


Katelynn Paluch

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