Small Spa­ces


When I think of where home is, it’s Am­bal Trad­ing, 591 Par­lia­ment St., Toronto The un­cle at the front counter never looks at me like I’m a slut.

I’m not his daugh­ter, but I am fam­ily

There’s a Tamil girl with blond streaks dig­ging in the fridge for curry leaf who smiles at me

Ev­ery time I’m in the rice aisle I stop be­cause I wanna take home a 25 pound bag of red rice big enough to hug but my suit­case is al­ready full of 25 pounds of skirts, pills, Ep­som salts, backup shoes and sa­cred rocks so I set­tle for two small bags of rice, plus the best tea they have, a bag of jag­gery, a jar of Mal­dive fish: we have prac­tice pack­ing home into suit­cases and I am no ex­cep­tion

When I was a kid, home came in the round con­tainer of Larich’s Jaffna Curry my ap­pamma would mail my dad from Melbourne. My mother al­ways warned me it was too hot for me to eat my fa­ther didn’t know how to cook so it stayed on its shelf but I would look at it with long­ing sneak it out and sniff late at night.

It smelled like the rooms of a home I’d never seen yet was wait­ing for me

Th­ese four blocks are his­tory.

The first place Sri Lankans came af­ter the war they called the St. Jamestown projects San­jay­town be­cause there were so many Lankans.

The Tamil Work­ers Cen­tre fire-bombed by the other Tamil cen­tre be­cause they were gay.

This is where that one bar is where all the un­cles go to get their dicks sucked, this is the field where Tamil So­mali Ja­maican soc­cer hap­pens ev­ery sum­mer week­end

This is home. One block. One store. A sack of red rice. A glance. A shipped spice.

Home is a small house.

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