May 16, 2018

Sneha Madhavan-Reese

TO THOUSAND ISLAND

The only time I tasted you
was in a fast food restaurant
on an elementary school field trip.
I heard myself saying your name, only because
the girl in front of me had asked for you. Her name was Amy.
Amy was confident and popular, and she knew about things
like salad dressing. I had never eaten a salad in my life.
Our house always smelled of Indian curries. I didn’t know
the names of different dressings, even that there were
different dressings, or even that there were such things
as dressings. I was maybe eight, it was maybe grade three,
and we were all on a field trip and had brought money for lunch.
I don’t remember where we were going, but I remember Amy’s voice.
I listened carefully so I’d know just what to order. When you arrived,
orange and tangy, I didn’t like you at all, but I was happy.
Perhaps I could find my way in this world after all.

from Rattle #59, Spring 2018
Tribute to Immigrant Poets

[download audio]

__________

Sneha Madhavan-Reese: “I was born and raised in the United States as the child of immigrant parents from India. I became an immigrant myself after my husband and I decided to move our young family to Canada. I often think about how my children are living some of the same experiences I had as a child, growing up far from extended family, with parents whose cultural references and childhood memories all stem from a different place; and I have a greater appreciation for the challenges, far greater than my own, that my parents must have faced. Though I love my adopted country and consider it home, I wonder whether I’ll ever feel as though I completely belong.” (web)

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