She started to eat the family recipes, folding the paper in half and in half again until they were a knot of wishes in her belly. My grandmama’s. Tapping finger to sternum, sound like a drum. I, your grandmama. And she gave me her teeth when mine were broken, the ones at the front, and I’d been surprised by the beautiful color of blood, the way it clung to everything. By that time, she wasn’t eating from her mouth. Except for the recipes, fish-swallowed.
I took her teeth, strange rocks, and sucked them beneath my tongue. They didn’t cut the same. She coughed up a rib and we did not expect such a thin thing, a brittle wishbone that we snapped and cooked into broth. Nobody wanted her arthritis feet. My mother, sentimental, took it upon herself to gather these parts: patches of scalp, liver spots that she pressed into her own hands, gingivitis that she swallowed like medicine, like duty.
I tried to give the teeth back, but they found home inside my mouth, put down roots. Later, I found the recipes, pulling one out of my navel—a string of words I couldn’t understand, coated in bile. When I asked why the men in our family don’t inherit parts quantified, my mother said they get enough. The family nose, a jawline. Deeds and other such paperwork. What we need: a recipe for bone.
I don’t tell my mother the teeth are whispering at night. They grind together with my future and I wake, clenching. Stories of migration, tearing into cara cara flesh. Not of birthing but consuming, knitting open pulp from rind, the taste of blade, not home.
Dylan Evers (she/her) is an Australian Indian American and a graduate of the University of New Orleans MFA program. She is Editor at Micro Podcast, and her work has been published in Hobart After Dark and Rejection Letters. She lives in New Orleans with her husband, two kids, and three large dogs. You can find her on Twitter @dyl_evers.