Community, To Me: Maya Joshi

imageCommunity, To Me

The smell of sandalwood and smoke
dark and cool metallic shadows as familiar as an old friend
The taste of a half remembered prayer, spoken through fumbling lips
Joining the strong chant surrounding me
Low whispers from papery mouths
Ancient and irreverent to all but this moment
The joy in the return
Regret and relief mingling in guilty goodbyes
Laughing and teasing, jokes and Parsi Bol
Daal chavel and Dhandar Patio and Sallee Murghee
Hello to old neighbors, forgotten family members, college acquaintances
Paying respects all the same
Gossip in the kitchen, uproar at the table, and all gathered round yelling at the tv by nightfall
We’re not so different
We’re not so alone
But if everyone sees what they look for
Who am I to pick at that bone
Bright sharp eyes
That can explode every flaw with just one look
Gentle hands that can slip lemongrass and honey into chai and spill not a drop
Furious minds that make the choices they can and absorb details and ink like sugar in milk
We were all ” Wallas”  once, hailing from Gujarat in our Gara saris with jolly, unfiltered words
Eyes deepened by suffering yet left unclouded by it
We were all Persians once, the empire made great by our achievements
We were all that we still are, only spread throughout the world
Our bowl of milk is bigger now
Yet we spill no drops
But still sweeten all around us

This poem was earlier published in the FEZANA Journal Summer 2017 Issue. (subscribe to FEZANA Journal)

It is published here with permission of the author.

Maya C. Joshi is a Parsi and Intersectional Feminist who, when not ranting about politics or fictional characters, is writing her own fictional characters who have horrible things happen to them. She’s not sorry.