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ISSN: 0974-892X


Jul 2015 - Jan 2016



Amma’s Rotis

Anna G. Raman


The ingredients are always the same.
Holding the end of her colorful sari, I watch
as she soaks the flour in warmth.
She kneads what she feels, into the dough
with gentle, expert hands, and lets it sit
while I visit the kitchen every minute.
She makes perfect little spheres
without wrinkles or cracks.
She knows the first few
are mine, as I collect from the kitchen,
tumblers of different sizes,
plastic knives, and spices, to model and make
dough-men, with black-pepper-eyes
and mustard-seed-smiles.
When she rolls each one out,
it spins on the wooden board,
like a merry-go-round
cheering children,
even those simply watching.
Each roti is a perfect circle
as if drawn with a pair of compasses.
When she puts them on the hot tava,
they puff with life and my mind soars
higher than a kite in a fine breeze.
The aroma of warm wheat
is the same as the scent of the earth, that rises,
before one can see rain falling.

The ingredients are nearly the same.
I stare at the blob of wheat
on the wooden board in my white kitchen
and my mind whirls around it
struggling to make it as perfectly round as
Amma’s rotis.

(roti – a type of Indian bread; tava – a griddle; sari – a long, colorful, usually patterned cloth, traditionally worn by women in India)


Anna G. Raman's work has appeared in The Stillwater Review, Whirlwind Magazine, Kalyani Magazine, River Poets Journal, The DuPage Valley Review, Sparkbright, and other places online and in print. Her poems have also appeared as part of anthologies such as River Poems published by Lilly Press, and Poems on Ivy Leaves published by the NJ Poetry Society.