Home, Oven, Second Place Winner in Poetry

Home, Oven

by Farah Ghafoor


Your sister is baking — the heavy
banana and nut moving viscous
through the hallways for hours.
The bread rises warm
and supple until it is split for tea,
shards of almond peeking out of the crack
in its chest. It is another evening
you try to settle into. You carve rubies
of cold plums, hack at a papaya’s
womb and slip its black eggs under
your tongue. Your mother is out
praying. You think about her hands
attempting tenderness. You forget about
the water boiling, the old burns
on your wrist. Here, the kettle is always
a child crying. Your sister will throw
the tougher chunks of dough
at ducks tomorrow. They will look
like small boys, flocks of green
helmets eyeing her wingless
back. You will hold up the knife,
and in its white shine, your mother
will return your gaze. Your sister
would stroke it and bring it
to her lip like a flute.