suhanee

United States

Published Work

Food Writing Competition 2020

Her Food Brings Me Close to Her

Clove simmers in a bath of garbanzo beans, diced tomatoes, and fresh coriander. My mother adds chopped garlic to the iron pan, bleeding sharp flavors into the curry. She shakes turmeric powder into the mix, giving birth to a golden hue that settles in the pan and dissolves ever so quickly. Vertically-sliced onions float in the broth before being pulled down by the thick fragrance of the spices. Sliced fenugreek leaves dance along the evaporating surface and soak in the breaths of chili powder. Marathi music from the 1980s blends into the bubbling curry to create a delicious melody in the kitchen. My mother hums along, her voice being the secret ingredient to the recipe. 

In my room upstairs, my back remains upright against the rigid metal chair. My eyes sweat weariness and frustration as I spend the third consecutive hour trying to figure out how to do my math homework. My head spins at the thought of having to...

Challenge Completed Writing Streak Week 11

Day 1:
I wish it were true that we treated everyone like equals. We like to say that we do, but we don't. We judge people based on the color of their skin and we characterize people based on the way they look. Recent events have shown us that people make decisions on who is dangerous based on the color of their skin. We are all humans but we find ways to dehumanize each other. Not only based on race, but also based on socioeconomic status, gender, nationality, and more. We choose to create separations between each other based on qualities, that for many, aren't something they have control over. And why can't we embrace our differences? Why can't we realize that our differences are what make our world diverse? We are all different but we are all still equal. And we all deserve to be treated as equals.

Day 2:
I wish it were true that I wasn’t self-critical....

Writing Streak Week 11 Day 5

I wish it were true that there was justice in our world. But there isn't. Injustice floods our world in every shape and form. We use one's race, one's gender, one's nationality, one's economic status, and so much more to define how we treat each other. We should treat each other justly and respectfully, because we are all humans. And we all deserve to be treated justly. 

Writing Streak Week 11 Day 4

I wish it were true that I remembered to write Writing Streak Week 11 Day 4 on Thursday and not a day late. I accidentally forgot :) .

Hope everyone is doing well!

Writing Streak Week 11 Day 3

I wish it were true that I could talk to animals and they could talk back to me! I mean, how cool would that be?! I have a dog and a cat. Often, my cat will just paw and scratch at my door and keep brushing up against my leg. I can't tell if he wants food or if he wants me to give him a hug or both! My dog will sometimes just sit down in the middle of the walk. I can't tell if it's because he doesn't want to go on a walk or because he just doesn't enjoy walking in certain areas or because he would rather play in the backyard. I feel bad not understanding what they are asking of me. It would be cool if I could talk to them and they could talk back to me. 

Writing Streak Week 11 Day 2

I wish it were true that I wasn’t self-critical. But I am. I get upset when I don’t perform as well as I hoped and I blame myself for it. I am constantly trying to become a better person than I already am, which is a good thing, but often I keep trying to do more and that can be exhausting. I need to remind myself more frequently that I am just a human. And it's okay to take a break from doing school work or studying to relax a little. 

Writing Streak Challenge Week 11

Writing Streak Week 11 Day 1

I wish it were true that we treated everyone like equals. We like to say that we do, but we don't. We judge people based on the color of their skin and we characterize people based on the way they look. Recent events have shown us that people make decisions on who is dangerous based on the color of their skin. We are all humans but we find ways to dehumanize each other. Not only based on race, but also based on socioeconomic status, gender, nationality, and more. We choose to create separations between each other based on qualities, that for many, aren't something they have control over. And why can't we embrace our differences? Why can't we realize that our differences are what make our world diverse? We are all different but we are all still equal. And we all deserve to be treated as equals. 

it's okay

i know that it hurts when they
talk to you like that. their tongues
are sharp and they cut into brains
like thorns in skin. they speak words
because they can. but they don't know
you and they don't know how amazing
you are. i know that you are searching the 
night sky for stars, and you have been 
having a hard time finding them. but
sometimes it takes weeks of darkness
to finally find light. and it takes weeks
of courage as well. it's okay to be scared
and it's okay to not know what you want.
it's okay to be confused. let your thoughts
run through your brain and tangle themselves
in one another, not matter how annoying
it may be. most importantly, let yourself
be a human. humans are not perfect.
i know it hurts to breathe sometimes.
like pain is clogging your airways and you are
pushing your emotions down. but it's okay to
let tears...

it's okay

i know that it hurts when they
talk to you like that. their tongues
are sharp and they cut into brains
like thorns in skin. they speak words
because they can. but they don't know
you and they don't know how amazing
you are. i know that you are searching the 
night sky for stars, and you have been 
having a hard time finding them. but
sometimes it takes weeks of darkness
to finally find light. and it takes weeks
of courage as well. it's okay to be scared
and it's okay to not know what you want.
it's okay to be confused. let your thoughts
run through your brain and tangle themselves
in one another, not matter how annoying
it may be. most importantly, let yourself
be a human. humans are not perfect.
i know it hurts to breathe sometimes.
like pain is clogging your airways and you are
pushing your emotions down. but it's okay to
let tears...

seasons

she danced among the waves of the
sea at daybreak & laid in a field of
grass, singing to the stars in the night
sky. "Do you ever get lonely up there?"
she would ask. they never responded
to her, but she just assumed that they 
were in need of a friend. she collected
autumn leaves while sipping on a
warm cup of ginger tea with crushed
cinnamon. & soon the trees were bare
& she would spend her days laying
in powdering snow, letting snowflakes
crumble & melt upon her tongue. & 
then she saw flowers growing from
soil, soil that was once smothered with
ice. she saw the world changing around her.
no matter what time it was, nature bled beauty.
 

strength

strength is a different
part of me. the part that 
knows that although i may
sometimes be laying in
darkness, i will soon scrape
my way into the light.

strength is a different 
part of me. the part that 
knows the gift of life comes
with scratches and bruises,
with aches and pain.

strength is a different
part of me. the part that 
brings me out of bed in
the morning, ready to 
face whatever may come
my way.

strength is a different
part of me. the part that
is fragile because it sometimes
shatters in front of my eyes.

strength is a different
part of me. the part that 
blows on dandelions on a
rainy day in hopes of a 
sunny day soon.

strength is a different 
part of me. the part that 
sometimes hides under my
flesh and does not know 
when to chew its way out.

strength is a different 
part of me. a part of me 
that you...

nature's hope

gray paints the sky &
anger fills the atmosphere,
for there is a storm coming.
lightning rings through
my ears & thunder shakes
my floor. the wind howls 
at the roof and suffocates
the trees like smoke. hours
of this, watching trees lose
their footing, watching leaves
slide from their home, watching
broken branches cascade 
miles down. 

we wait.

but soon blue skies push at
gray & golden drops fall
from the sky, kissing my 
forehead. the trees can
finally catch their breath
& the wind goes to sleep.
bluebirds begin to sing
their songs & tulips open,
peering out from their home.
& when i look at this, i
realize that nature blooms
of hope. because right in 
front of my eyes, gray skies
have cleared to blue. 

beautiful imperfection

you have the pen. a quill
pen, a ballpoint, a pen.
your pen is quietly tucked
within your fingers. with
your index finger, you begin
to trace white paper, leaving
an outline of what you may
draw. and soon, the pen touches
paper and ink tumbles from the
pen and bleaches paper. first
line for your sketch. as your
pen runs along the ridges of 
white paper and creates an
illustration, you realize what
control you have. this control
over life is exhilarating. having
this picture in your head of what
you want this drawing to be, you
sketch, paint, doodle, and in the
end...

it's not perfect.

huh. you had this beautiful image
in your head and now suddenly
on paper, it looks rather...imperfect.
so you start over. and over. and over.
and eventually you end up with a
masterpiece. but when you look at the
first piece you made, you realize, it may
have had mistakes, but it was still beautiful.
...

once again

i know life feels a little
scary right now, but know
when this is over, we will
smile once again.

i know that talking hasn't 
really been talking, but 
know when this is over,
we will smile once again.

i know you lie awake at night,
licking constellations from the
sky & you wonder when 
something special will fall upon
the earth, but nothing cascades
down to you. but know when this
is over, we will smile once again.

i know that spring is the season
of new hope & blooms. where is
hope? no longer within my palms.
but know when this is over, we will
smile once again.

i know that it's hard to be yourself,
when it feels like life has been molded
into something it simply isn't. but 
know when this is over, we will smile
once again.

not only smile, we will laugh once again.
we will cry once again. we will shout
once again. we...

i'm here for you

i want to let you know that even when 
the stars come falling down to earth and 
blue paint chips from the sky, i'm here
for you.

i want to let you know that even when 
thunder rattles the ground and lightning
pierces broken soil, i'm here for you.

i want to let you know that even when 
the earth fills with blisters of pain,
hardship, and sadness, i'm here for you.

i want to let you know that even if the soil
cracks, dying of thirst, and the sprouts refuse
to bloom, i'm here for you.

i want to let you know that even if nature
gives up, i'm here for you.

constellations

she is beautiful. she likes to sleep
among the stars and breathe in air
that no one has breathed in. she finds
abode in fantasies & mysteries, not
reality. because in reality, she can’t dream.
and all she wants to do is fall asleep in the
clouds and let the galaxy close in on her.
she wants to feel the warmth of the sun,
get so close to the sun but never be burnt.
she wants to hold meteors in her hands.
she doesn’t want to be like everyone else.
she doesn’t want to be told. she wants
to be a story, where each page breathes
new constellations.

constellations

she is beautiful. earth is too ordinary 
for her. she likes to sleep among the
stars and breathe in air that no one
has breathed in. she finds abode
in fantasies & mysteries, not reality.
because in reality, she can’t dream. and
all she wants to do is fall asleep in the
clouds and let the galaxy close in on her.
she wants to feel the warmth of the sun,
get so close to the sun but never be burnt.
she wants to hold meteors in her hands.
she doesn’t want to be like everyone else.
she doesn’t want to be told. she wants
to be a story, where each page breathes
new constellations.

clay

fingers cut into clay saturated in tears.
pulling at its sides and slamming fists

down upon it, they mold the clay in their
palms into the shape of a vase. in the oven,

heat eats at the wet clay, sipping its tears 
and burning over impurities & mistakes & 

imperfection. after pulling it out of the
oven, they apply glaze over the hardened

clay, each stroke painting extraordinary
colors upon a rather ordinary vase. hues of

crushed indigo & berries, thick lines painted in
black paint. the sculpture is a short drip away

from a masterpiece. but hidden under layers of
permanent paint and gold embellishes is clay.

rather ordinary clay. clay that is imperfect. clay
that bleeds mistakes.

but clay that is clay nonetheless.

rain will come

life is slipping through my fingers 
like water. each second another 
drop gone, another lick lost, 
another sip broken. when
is normality going to be 
normal again? i sit
on the floor in
pools of 

routines 

lost.

words 

drained.

fallen 

laughter.

but i know 
that just as fast 
as water falls through 
the cracks between my
fingers, rain will nourish
my dry palms once again.
that when air becomes tight, 
it loosens up again. that when
tears fall, they dry from sunlit eyes
hours later. that after a fire, new shrubs 
find abode upon soil. that as life slips away,
it will come back again. it will.

be myself

when it feels like life becomes difficult
i like to close my eyes and imagine myself
in a place where i can breathe. a place where
i can look into my palms and see the girl
i am, not the girl someone else wants me 
to be. i look at the reflections woven in my 
fingers and i really like the quilt i see. i like
loving my own creations, the creations that
sometimes i can’t otherwise see. i rub the 
soles of my feet against wet soil, and i 
like what i feel. grounded in mother earth’s
skin, i know that i am close to her. to feel
like she is clutching my legs, and telling
me that i’m quite alright. i run my toes
through weeds to find roses, and even 
though thorns cut my toes, they find safety
in petals. i like what i feel. i taste my own
keratin, black like soot, and even though
it’s...

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition 2020

let go

i.
a flower was blooming inside of ma. massaging her 
pregnant belly with jojoba oil, her palms caressed her 
child with every rub. ma's lips dripped of whispers,
nourishing her baby's ears/never let go of ma/she
would say.

ii.
upon tumbling out of ma’s womb, the baby bathed in 
fresh air. lips enveloped around ma’s breasts, she sipped 
sweet milk like honey. staring at the pearls lining ma’s
neck, she gurgled at her own reflection in the beads.
on ma’s chest, she felt palpitations in rhythm with 
hers, a polyphonic symphony. she clutched onto ma’s 
bony fingers, because every hour, every minute, all she 
wanted to see was ma.

iii.
she slowly put one foot in front of the other, each heel 
earning one photo by ma. but as those heels produced 
more pictures, ma’s brows furrowed. One more heel 
meant one more slip. One more slip meant one more 
bloody nose. One more bloody nose meant one more 
tear and a moratorium...