My Father’s Hands


Saffron-stained fingernails.
Knife-nicked olive skin.
Callused palms like utensils.
Pinch of dill,
dash of turmeric,
drizzle of oil.

Black mustache glistening with sweat,
hand covering the rice with linen cloth.
As he hoisted me on the marble counter,
rice steam became droplets on my cheeks.

Strong and sweet yellow onion.
“Broccoli are tiny trees.”
Cilantro, thin as paper,
smelled first, then tasted.

All pushed into the hot, dancing oil,
the sizzling pan erupting
in Persian love.

More seasoned now,
I lift myself onto the counter,
and taste the fresh and pure vegetables,
familiar as their ancestors.

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