Hold the pepper upright and slice downwards.
Never point the sharp edge towards your palm;
keep it facing the counter as it slips through the spine.
Pinch the red flesh between your fingers
and look left. There, your mother’s back
hunches over a grandmother stove
and stares lovingly, longingly, bitterly into the pot.
She inhales, gravy and goodness. Or, she sighs.
Slice downwards, through the core, without looking too closely.
We put an ocean, an education, between us,
and she worries about what I am eating. The portions
are too big and the fat hasn’t been cut off and you
aren’t getting enough calcium: pride and restlessness
find me across miles, through phone signals.
They simmer in my genes.
She knows I am insatiable because I am made of her.
But I send her photographs of cafeteria salad anyway,
and I make the filters subtle. Next to raincloud grey,
the traffic light peppers glow.
We eat rainbow food to keep
the best of the best and worst inside us.
Homewards, hungry for colour,
she teaches me how to trap the sky in a rusty pot.
We start with red, splitting it, back together.