She means Quinoa, but she refuses to say it correctly it’s how she curses the grainy substance, it’s how she shows her upper hand over what the doctor calls a ‘healthy alternative’ because all of a sudden my usual rice ain’t good enough, so she yells I’m cooking that ‘coonwah’, while turning on the stove, her only torturing device, you know it’s gonna taste like sand no matter what I do, she won’t be able to stomach the rich in protein and dietary fibre alternative unless she verbally abuses it, kinda like when the police arrests you and it’s a foregone conclusion that you’re going to the station, and you think what do I have to lose? so you start mouthing off y’all ain’t shit, damn po-po, a bunch of pigs all of you, poop-lice, it’s that last resort upper hand, the kind that means: you think you got me but you only have some of me, you’ll never get all of it you have to cut out my tongue first before I let you censure my words, then you reluctantly throw some onions in the ‘coonwah’, screw up your face and yell into the pot this needs all kinda seasoning to make it taste right. What my mother means when she says ‘coonwah’ is I know how to say it but that doesn’t mean I have to say it right I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do; other than eat it.
Akhim Alexis is a writer born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago. He is currently pursuing an MA in Literatures in English at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The McNeese Review, Chestnut Review, Juked, Finished Creatures, Welter, Moth Magazine, Feral Poetry, Blue Earth Review, Capsule Stories, Moko Magazine, The Caribbean Writer, and others.