COMFORT FOODS // ONE POEM – Lindy Biller

My great grandmother still cooks for me

after a fashion—
ground lamb weeping
on rice flour dough,
jajek seeking mint,
pomegranates spilling joy
into my son’s eager hands.

We went to the Armenian church,
where her name was the only word
I understood, where prayers
melted on my tongue
like butter cookies.

You said I looked like
I fit in—dark hair,
olive skin—but my youngest
has wheat-colored curls,
and my soul is folded into
quarters, his into eighths,
and what does it mean
that her blood still sings
through the Old Quarter
of my veins?

Every Easter, I bring water
to a frantic, rolling boil,
drown cage-free eggs
with the papery skins of onions,
wonder if this year the shells
will accept the color—
that rich, deep red,
the sealed-up tomb
ready for us to
crack open.

Lindy Biller lives with her husband and two kids in Madison, WI. Her great grandmother was a survivor of the Armenian genocide and a soft-spoken, deeply kind-hearted woman. Lindy works as a writer and editor at an educational game studio.  

Photos used belong to author.

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