Issue 52 (Sept. 2016)
Sunlight tumbled through the skylights of the dance theater as old Sita concluded Reka’s Bharatanatyum practice with a series of syllabic beats, the talum. She laid the beat on her lap, but barely ruffled her chalk-white sari.
“Thei, thei,” Sita said in her voice that had turned grainy with age.
Reka’s right foot stomped two times.
They say that the cook at Bạch Đào is a fox. Not a crook, or a swindler, or even, as some men may say, a beguiling woman. No, the cook is a true fox, nine tailed and sharp clawed. They have hidden their true form in the guise of a human, and they use their human paws to make the food that the men who come to Bạch Đào love so dearly. It is the women whom men come to Bạch Đào for, but it is the food that they remember.
When Yitzy gets home from work on Friday afternoons, the floors are swept, the challah is baked, and the children are bathed. Their hair smells like shampoo, and it’s combed back from their faces neatly, wetly. They clamor at the baby-gate at the top of the stairs when he comes through the front door. They squeal with delight Abba Abba Abba as he pauses to touch the mezuzah and bring his fingertips to his lips.