“My Mother did not even realize she was pregnant with me.  She thought she was ill!  She had given birth to my brother not six months before.  When she found she was pregnant she said ‘God, how will I manage with these three babies?’ Because you know my sister was barely two years old.  She thought better to kill me, but it was too late for that so I was born.”  I watch her stir the onions, hand on hip.  Glossy black hair falls over her eyes, but she pays it no mind.  “Then when I came, I was sooooo ill.  The diapers were filling, so fast, so fast she could not keep up.  I had an illness in my stomach and she threw up her hands and said ‘Enough!  If she dies, she dies!  I cannot do this any longer!’  But an Aunty came and said ‘Aya!  You are just letting this little one die?  I will take her to a doctor I know, he will save her.’  The doctor did save me!  Apparently I was given the wrong medicine in hospital at birth and THAT is what made me so sick.  Thank God for my Aunty!”  She throws cumin seed in the pot and they splutter and hiss.  “When I was an infant she was traveling on a bus with me and an old man, a muslim priest….Are they called priests?……He said to take very good care of me, that I would grow up to be a strong woman of God.  Then my mother knew she must watch over me very carefully.”  In go boiled potatoes, mashed vigorously with a fork.  “I prayed every day, on my knees.  ‘Lord!  Grant my desires!  Do not make me fat!  Take away my spots!  Help me to pass my exams!’  Do you see how slender I am?!?  What a gracious God I serve!”  The whole mass is turned onto a dish, and hot oil in which mustard seeds have been popped is drizzled over top.  “You see how simple to cook?  Come, take your tea and we will go sit and eat.”


3 thoughts on “Lessons

  1. This is what some people call a “prose poem” – I’ve never liked that label – as I figure something is either a poem or is not, and giving it a hybrid label seems rather duplicitous. Let’s call it a poem – it IS! Great stuff, Courtney, as usual! xx Billy

    • This one is based loosely ona dear friend of mine. I’m glad you like it! The more I write, the more comfortable it feels and the better my grip on it becomes. I’m really enjoying myself!

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