good mornings

every once in a while
I awaken to pounding
that is not my heart
responding to the alarm
but is instead from the kitchen
two rooms away
the unmistakeable
rhythmic dull thudding
of a hefty granite pestle
striking a melange of spices
(always garlic and dried chilis
sometimes with lemongrass or ginger
or termuric or galangal or some other
fragrant root or berry or bark)
in a matching granite mortar
with sides polished from years of use
by the same family of hands
and with a bowl worn so smooth
the increasingly homogeneous paste
slips and slides from side to side
constantly threatening to
but never actually spilling over

I listen and let my heart keep pace
with the steady beat
knowing that when it stops
the aroma that sneaks its way
under the doors to me
will signal that it is time
to get up

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