A Soul Table for Grandma’s Death Anniversary

Tara Tulshyan

Tell me why flour blooms in my belly // crumbled grains

bloating my skin so that I cannot see past my knees // The egg

yolks curdle next to the wolf berries /overripe/ I have to wash

this bread with jasmine // only the ones whose buds are pulpy

in the spring // My stomach is sick with cream/ white fat / cold

from a cow that is turned into sinew // Tell me why my belly

shrinks // when I eat the rice with grandma’s bare palms // fat

puffs that tear every so often // around a table with polished

citrus and burning sawdust // I take one scoop of Mama’s milk

skin // the meat to every dish // And grandma’s fingernails

which can cook any stew // When there are only slabs of wheat

or yeast // Mama says it is better not to have a stomach //

Tara Tulshyan is sixteen years old and is homeschooled. “Vignettes from an Only Daughter Who is Now a Wife” won first place in the Manatee Libraries and 805 Teen Poetry Contest.