Ode to Knäckebröd

Celia Morton - India


January 31, 2020

Before you read, here are a few words you might want to know…


  • Bandar- Hindi for monkey

  • Chapati- a flat, thin and round bread eaten at almost every Maharashtrian meal 

  • Knäckebröd- a hard buiscuit-like bread, most often shaped as rectangles 



Ode to Knäckebröd 


A Long Distance Life

Is one of knäckebröd

knäckebröd is for Swedes, for those who don’t know, 

what chapati is for Maharashtrians 

My mother rolls it out on the counter

Salty and crispy, 

Spread to infinite thinness, 

And it is there 

where the magic lays

So little dough can become so much bread

In the oven it hardens, fooling you into thinking it can withstand anything

But the moment you take a bite,

It falls into unsolvable puzzle pieces in your hands


In October my Dad calls 

“Maybe you’ve spread yourself out too thin Celia?”

Knäckebröd, I think. Is this what I have been reduced to?


New location, new population

No matter where I am I will find someone who can hold a piece of me

North-South

East-West

Thus I spread in every direction 

But when I leave, I leave the piece with them

The problem isn’t giving

The problem is leaving


I’m homesick wherever I go

Because home has come plural 

Just as my roots get a proper grip in the foreign soil

I am washed away with the monsoon rain

I feel richer for each person who enters my life, 

But poor once their presence has been replaced by their Instagram profile


Being one-click away is not enough


I am still in the oven, I still appear strong

But 

It is not only the goodbyes

It is the buds that didn’t blossom 

the cups of chai never shared 

the crushes left a secret

In the bed not yet shaped after the weight of my body 


Lately, I’ve been feeling the cracking

I have been scared to give a piece of me away, seeing the deadline of my next round of farewells running towards me

But I have always lived the Long Distance Life

It is the title of my every journal and the name of my memoir

The only true constant 



Maybe the turbulence, with its’ the bumps and swirls

Is a symptom of adolescents

Maybe

Maybe time will give me the butter and cheese of my life

the two ingredients which can hold this fragile knäckebröd together

Even if only temporarily

Maybe I could be more like chapati

Spread in all directions, but flexible and resilient 

I want to be a wise nomad, 

Not a miserable teen who writes cliché free verse


Mamma, jag älskar ditt knäckebröd

I love your knäckebröd

I always will

A part of me will continue to be knäckebröd

There will be cracks and faded friendships,

potential everythings,

And unfulfilled other things 

But just like the bandars of Varanasi,

I don’t want to stop jumping from rooftop to rooftop


I have always lived the Long Distance Life 





One day,

in a year or in a decade


Inshallah

 

Hopefully


Eventually 


Chapati will teach me its’ ways




Celia Morton