Grandmother’s Salt

Finger nails are the filthy urchins from the street
under her skin-
grow up without kindness
to squander with the tidy woman that she sees-
in the mirror, in calmness,
or in jolt.

While the potatoes are food,
lovely food-
being mashed in a saucepan on a cranky
tamarind wood table that’s got its temper
from my grandfather
whose fault

is nothing but getting married to my grandmother
who through the
measured veil of shyness has already measured
her man- but to stir him further, pouring
into the pan
a ladle more salt.

There is no mustard oil at home, no affection either.
But that does not stop her
from mixing his anger
with her petulant nails- mother promise-
she will scratch him dead, blind him or worse
until he halts.

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