COMFORT FOODS // Tiffin — Serena Alagappan

Illustration by Yasse Saidi

After The Lunchbox (2013)

Tiffin clangs like bells,
collapses as it climbs,
tiffin holds okra, paneer,
sambar, and lemon rice.
Tiffin holds notes,
scrawled at lunchtime
while chewing. Tiffin
grows like a womb
bears a promise, a
later date and time.
Tiffin packs extra pride
with hurt feelings—
clipped spice—but a swirl
of cream if licked by
two fingers. Tiffin
takes its time unpacking
even if the food goes cold.
Empty tiffin isn’t the
finale you think. When
a container contains
negative space, there is
no longer an ending.
There is only an

Serena Alagappan is currently studying Social Anthropology at Oxford through a Rhodes Scholarship, and working as an Editor of the Oxford Review of Books. Serena’s writing has appeared in The American Journal of Poetry, Scientific American, The Oprah Magazine, Hobart, The James Joyce Quarterly, The Oxonian Review, and is forthcoming in The Colorado Review. 

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