You kneaded me,
tried to shape me to your liking,
extra-thin crust, light sauce,
easy on the toppings, bland.

Your well-intentioned hands
smashed my skin,
spread emotions evenly
on a cold surface.

Like a child, you tossed
me in the air, filled
my body with hope,
weightless, dead space
underneath me, knowing
you would catch me.

You shut me in,
claimed you were
helping me grow,
locked away from others,
because I was not ready.
Not ready to show
the creation your two
hands made from nothing.
Not ready to claim me
as your precious gift
to the world.

I listened to you,
gave your opinion precedence
over my desire to grow.
I cauterized my ambitions,
let my insides
simmer and bubble.

I constructed my own oven,
and shut the world out,
because you said
I was not ready.

I let your love
burn me, charred
my insides.
My flavors trapped in
my blackened
crust. My gifts melted,
my talents crumbled,
lost for anyone to
taste, except for you.

But this fire was never yours.

My flavors were never
yours to claim, they were
gifts from my ancestors,
exotic flavors, fermented wisdom,
esoteric, complex.

You couldn’t
distill my essence with
your logic and science.

My recipe
came from hands that
worshipped soil, honored
the sun, bled rituals from
their veins.

You thought you were
making a main dish,
thought you were the head chef.

But you were only
a patron.

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