A folktale, better when told orally

On the cusp of imminence, the woman finally and silently came

out of her garden-level studio door. The giant Indian woman, who lived below

us, garbed in afternoon mumu holding a giant, lidded pot

of curried rice. False salvation.

Not so much staring at me, trapped back to glass, as much

as observing, as would a bird-watcher, taking stock of where

the screams had been coming. Once she came

to the foregone conclusion of what a man holding

a dismantled crowbarlike door handle to a mother’s neck

must be, she finally and silently placed the lidded pot

at the stoop of her door. And went back

inside, consumed. The screams smelled of soaked spice then,

and I’ve always wanted to tell her:

I survived despite you.


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