April is Poetry Month

Thursday, April 8, 2021 - 8:00am to 8:00pm

A smile always heals

BY SUMA SUBRAMANIAM


You cannot pronounce my name.
“Soor-ya.” Not “soar.”
Surya—the sun god.
Mom always tells me that a smile heals everything.
So I try.
I sit beside you in the cafeteria
and smile.

You look down at your food
and eat your cheeseburger,
I eat the lemon rice in my box.

My mom cut and squeezed two lemons
and cracked open a coconut to make my lunch.
I savor every spoon of my vegan rice
while you savor your meat patty.
You enjoy your burger. I enjoy my lemon rice.

We don’t say anything to each other
until almost the end of the lunch break.
I apologize for splattering ink
on your shirt when you got my name wrong this morning.

You smile back at me. “Surya,” you say.
You don’t know how that makes me feel.
Mom is right.
A smile always heals.