When I was a little girl I would get up in the morning to get ready for school Amma was already up, showered and dressed before the sun She had prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner before the day had begun The monotonous routine of the Indian woman Was the pillar of our household When everything else was falling apart The rich spices were strong and bold like coffee, the daily aroma functioning as an alarm Flavors that burnt my nose but comforted my heart The clunky metal pressure cooker was on the stove, Yet again Just like me, it was imported all the way from India And just like me, it existed as a daily functioning member of that household And just like me, it consumed rice everyday Not a day went by in my first 11 years of existence that white basmati rice did not enter my system The clunky metal pressure cooker became my nemesis As it’s whistle blew it reminded me of a train That had the capacity to steal me and take me faraway Reminding me of how nothing ever felt safe Amma. Why do you let the pressure cooker get so hot that it screams? Surely the rice is cooked now and we can eat. Day after day, the pressure builds up and the whistle screeches Make it stop. And just like the white rice it cooked The whiteness boiled inside of me Pressurizing into a pristine product for others pleasure I bathed in the waters of the pressure cooker thinking it would cleanse me But now I feel dirtier than ever pain was the corpse i buried thinking it was dead but pain isn’t a corpse it’s a seed once it's in the ground and nourished it sprouts up into nasty weeds and surprises you There is value in my culture and I don’t want to throw it away Throw it into the melting pot to let it boil and disintegrate A one way ticket to a faraway place The train is waiting. The whistle is screeching. Next stop — your life long American dream. Amma, I was never strong enough to open the lid and escape Why couldn’t I have been strong enough? Why couldn’t you have been strong enough for me? Amma. Why do you let the pressure cooker get so hot that it screams? Surely the rice is cooked now and we can eat. Day after day, the pressure builds up and the whistle screeches Make it stop. white rice is not enough flavor for some But paired with too much and suddenly Its overwhelming The aftertaste Leaves an unpleasant mark on their face Eyebrows furrowed Lips puckered Confusion is uncomfortably sour Regret floods in as they reach for a glass of water Foreign flavors to them But savory memories to me And with chor and torin Curry and chapathi Their plates are full But their stomachs are empty Instead of wiping their plate clean They are content to just sample By rejecting our hospitality They reject the prime example Of our culture Foreign concepts to them But second nature to me The train is waiting. The whistle is screeching. But if only that train were taking me to my utopia A faraway place Where nothing has to be sacrificed and i wave goodbye to all my fears as the fade off in the distance Amma. Why do you let the pressure cooker get so hot that it screams? Surely the rice is cooked now and we can eat. Day after day, the pressure builds up and the whistle screeches Make it stop. You see, the white rice is boiling to be plain and simple Affordable and safe I am made to be digestible Spicy flavors are dangerous and to be placed on the side Eaten in the tiniest increments only if one so chooses We put Jesus into the pressure cooker And cook him into a white, fluffed up rice steamed of any unnecessary and extra components Now He is digestible Extracting Him of his ethnicity A palatable Jesus, we take Him in aculturally And we produce safety Because once the rice is cooled down it's safe to eat, right? Because they are safe, I have to be pressurized Day after day Laughing and playing the same game To protect myself in this melting pot we call tasty Give up the charade It's not a melting pot where every flavor stays the same But a pressure cooker where whatever was left disintegrates Washed away Washed white White washed the American pressure cooker has evaporated my race i’ve lost my taste And now I am screaming
Excellent change to the “melting pot” as a “pressure cooker.” The pressure to live the American dream, that erases your culture and be consumed and judged by a whitewashed Jesus for palatability sakes.