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We set our tables with
scrubbed fig leaves and napkins,
Bowls of curry chicken, mango takarie,
paratha roti, rice, and dhal.
Cracking the spine, we eat

With fingers mixing and mashing,
ladling for one another,
Karaili, pommecythe, cur-he,
spooning and sliding into our mouths,
Wiping the leaf green.

From spicy, we delve into sweet
dispensing dabbles and segments of
kheer, kulfi, parsaud, gulab jamun, burfi, ladoo,
Folding into little squares
The plates we discard.

After decades in America
tradition dissolved,
We eat with multiple forks, knives, and spoons,
Resisting family gatherings
We set our tables for the solitudes of etiquette

Krystal A. Sital is a PEN Fusion Award finalist and recipient of the Walter Glospie Academy of American Poets Prize. She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Hunter College where she was a Hertog Fellow, was awarded the Memoir Prize and was a finalist for the Audre Lorde Award. Her work has been published in The NYTimes Magazine, Salon, Brain Child, Akashic Books, The Caribbean Writer, The Tottenville Review, and elsewhere. Her first book—THE SECRETS WOMEN KEPT: A Caribbean Family Memoir—will be published by W. W. Norton in January 2018.

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