My mother says my baby is naturally happy.
I correct her. “She’s happy because her mother is nice to her,” I say.
“I was nice to you,” my mother says. “You were just naturally unhappy.”
The tulsi leaves dry and fall. My brother-in-law says yellow and purple flowers will grow, that I am quite beautiful, that I should take advantage of the time I have, and cut at the stem.
My head’s on the floor searching for crackers or bread crumbs, half-eaten grapes. I am covered in yogurt and egg and vomit. I haven’t read in five days. My brain asks—where are you?
When I was little, I heard my mother on the phone call my cousin’s bride “housewife” and I pictured a gray-speckled cat on a couch. Her skin was olive and she never sat.
Is this really home? These people, these dishes? Am I the one you cry for? Or could it be another woman you’re mistaking me for? How you text heading home, on your way home, and I pause, asking, Is this home? Is it?
At the Museum
She sits in museum cafés to be close to the art without having to feel the emotion that seeing the art causes in her chest. She says to her husband one night after dinner, Life is less lonely with art, don’t you think? But she doesn’t remember his response, or whether she’d actually asked him out loud. It is usually sunnier in museum cafés than in normal cafés, and this, too, she finds, is worth the entrance price.