The Melting Pot

How a small community kitchen can make all the difference.

Rain cracks against the window where I rest my head,
Currently caught in the bondage of traffic lights.
Red – amber – green; safewords fallen on deaf ears
The horn screams at a pedestrian in flight.


I too find myself tangled in a series of knots
Waiting for a stream of commuters; tied first to my seat
And second to the stream of exiting travellers,
And finally to the myki machine’s beep.


Free of the domination of my bus and the crowd
I find myself submitting to a craving for warmth.
I worm my way through confused students and to a second home
and find the ambience transformed.


In seconds the bounds of travel are torn from me
As the countertop speaks liberation.
The rain whipping outside is abandoned at the door,
For here boiling water forms the art of creation.


Clouds of dough are formed in others’ hands
and the family has since sliced pumpkins into geometry.
I fill a pan with the onion and sizzle along
Water now full of the mix of camaraderie.


And hand after hand adds a flavour to the pot!
Acquaintances are made siblings at the sink!
Soapy hands flick bubbles at all that come near;
And the giggles are met with a wink.


The scent of our efforts soon fills the space
And long since forgotten are wet bus and train.


Backpack strapped to my body and I prepare to leave
Bondage resumed, books are its producer.
Yet the warmth of our spirits has filled my belly full
And it is as though my ropes hang much looser.


This poem is written to preserve the moments of joy I always experience when popping in and out of the Yulendj lounge at uni. The best events revolve around food, as you’re guaranteed to encounter someone new and leave feeling like you’ve made a friend. This particular poem was inspired by pumpkin soup and damper, an absolute light after the blustery public transport trip.


Kiowa is a Dja Dja Wurrung woman studying a Bachelor of Arts and Science (Pure Math and Philosophy) at Monash University.


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