She fans her hand
through the water, fingers
for pebbles, palms them
She tips the pot, careful
not to spill a single grain.
She washes rice
as her mother was taught,
as her mother taught her.
Her daughter rushes
in, bangs open a cabinet,
shakes Pop Tarts from a box.
The woman turns to speak,
but her daughter is already gone.
She turns back to see rice swirling
down the drain. She settles
the pot, refills it with rice,
swishes, drains. She sets the pot
in the cooker, clicks it to heat
and waits for the first hiss of steam.
Patty Paine is the author of Grief & Other Animals (forthcoming from Accents Publishing), The Sounding Machine (Accents Publishing), Feral (Imaginary Friend Press), Elegy & Collapse (Finishing Line Press), co-editor of Gathering the Tide: An Anthology of Contemporary Arabian Gulf Poetry (Garnet Publishing & Ithaca Press) and The Donkey Lady and Other Tales from the Arabian Gulf (Berkshire Academic Press). Her poems, reviews, and interviews have appeared in Blackbird, Verse Daily, The Atlanta Review, Gulf Stream, The Journal and other publications. She is the founding editor of diode poetry journal and Diode Editions. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar where she teaches writing and literature.
Andrew Koch’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Bluestem, Connotation Press, Mojo, Rust + Moth, and others. Although a Tennessee-native, Andrew presently lives in Spokane, Washington with his wife and cat while teaching literature and pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing at Eastern Washington University.