“Don’t stare at The Nude.” by Sasha her kitchen table


Wednesday January 29, 2014
3:12pm
5 minutes
God Loves Hair
Vivek Shraya


“What are you doing?” I ask, poking my head into her room. She’s just turned thirteen and would much rather me leave her alone. I can tell this from the way she’ll barely look me in the eye, from the way she paints black nail-polish across the batik of her name on her door, from the way she prefers earbuds tucked in than my voice telling her stories. “I’m writing a letter.” She barely looks up. I leave it at that.

We wash dishes, side-by-side. She washes and I dry. Sometimes our forearms brush up against eachother and she apologizes. “For what?” I ask. She’s turned on the radio and it’s set to the Jazz station. She doesn’t change it. I think about how her father loves Jazz and wonder if he plays it for her when she goes to see him in the Yukon every July. “Mom,” she says, draining the sink and dumping the leftover bits of broccoli and rice in the compost, just like I’ve taught her to do. “I’m writing to a guy in Texas…” I take a deep breath. “Oh?” I say, trying to be the open-hearted woman that she usually forgets I am these days. “He’s in prison… He’s…” “What?” “He’s lonely…” She looks at me and I see my own eyes, ripe and full and I sit down at the round table and she sits down too.

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