Follow my sister, Nina, and me as we make a book together: my writing and her gorgeous inks on paper.

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19. Run Far

Posted on September 9, 2020

We may never get to India, but we can fix Indian food, learn the fragrant masala spices – fenugreek, cumin, coriander – discovered by the explorers and traded like jewels. We might fix tandoori chicken, coconut butter cauliflower, master curries the color of gold. Naan is as flat and wide as a frisbee. But roti steals the show: buttery, flaky, every bite a joy. Kachumber salad made of cucumbers cools the heat, and quenches. As the crow flies, Cuba is not even an hour away from New Orleans. We let the ropa viejo – old rags – cook all day. While we wait, we smash sandwiches in the Foreman grill so melted cheese runs out the sides and the edges of the meat crisp.…

18. More Space Than I Need

Posted on September 9, 2020

When I see gummy candies at check out, I miss my son. The red cherries on green stems, the peach flavored peaches, blue Smurfs that stain the tongue. Long ago, he dared me to eat sour patch kids. “Just take one taste, Mom.” What an assault on my tender buds. I lean toward Swedish Fish! Are they raspberry? It doesn’t matter. They’re two bites of yum that get stuck in my flipper denture, so I eat them toothless. A few times, I’ve left home without the flipper and didn’t remember until I lisped or smiled. It’s not a bad feeling, to give your mouth more space, although the tongue can’t stop worrying the place. “Take care of your teeth,” I tell my son, just…

17. Wake Up!

Posted on September 9, 2020

New Year’s Eve, Mom watched fireworks on the TV in her apartment not in the lobby with the residents and staff. They treat her well and with curiosity. “Won’t you play for us?” the staff says. They’ve noticed the violin case beside the bed. This is where my mother keeps what she worries the staff will steal, which is becoming everything she owns. I called the next day from Queens. “I need my new wheelchair,” she said. “Because I can’t leave my room.” “I know,” I said. “It’s on the way.” She was watching football. She’s from Detroit, but her teams are the Packers and the Saints. “Will they play each other in the Super Bowl?” she asked. “Not likely,” I said. “Are you…