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.