01 January 1970

Poem: Eating Together

Weekend Reads

Poem: Eating Together

Shantashree Mohanty writes a poem about the experience of eating together with family.

Poem Eating Together by Shantashree Mohanty
Poem Eating Together by Shantashree Mohanty

In our house, we didn't have breakfast. We had brunch at around 10
in the morning
before I and my sister were sent off to school 
and father was sent off to work.

This elaborate meal
quietly lasted for what seemed like an eternity;  
decreed upon us
by clumsy hands
that had worn themselves out long back.

We sat on the edges,
textbooks latched on to our backs,
each of us stupefied by this drudgery;
always reaching out 
for more pickle
to drown the taste of our
insipid lives.

Halfway through, we’d be yelled at
to hold up our postures, 
just like the cheap yellow rubber bands 
holding up our lint-ridden socks.
To not waste a single grain
because “money doesn’t grow on trees”,
and because our bellies were being fed
with hopes of a better future.

Silent screams filled up
our insides as we,
braced ourselves
for the ultimate battlefield 
of bullying and indoctrinations
which would eventually fetch us
the jobs that pay our bills.

In the end,
father would often repeat the same jokes
whose punchlines have now
suspended themselves
from the cobwebs
of my dysfunctional adulthood.

There are so many things
that can kill someone
who knew
eating together
could be one of them.