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How to Embed your Legacy

Take one pair of lightly-arched, freshly-manicured feet, slip off your mother’s gold-edged chappals that always chafed, and plant them firmly in the soft Mangalorean soil of your exacting grandfather’s garden

Rub at your slightly turned-in ankles, that resemble your father’s, and recount the memory of how your perfectionist Nana massaged them with intent and warmed olive oil when you were newly born and mouldable

Feel the sharp lines of your sturdy calves, so similar to your hockey-playing disapproving Uncle Lazrado, and keep them as tensed as the robust badam trees

Ignore the pulsing pain in your Auntie-Felcy-like dimpled knees, and wait for the rush of belonging from this ancestral earth

Erase the echoes of recalled laughter at the waddle of your fleshy thighs the first time you visited from London and wore your favourite Minnie Mouse printed raspberry-coloured shorts, and enjoy the sensation of hundreds of years of blood and perspiration flooding into your veins

Relish in the destroying tides of incoming birthright as they replace the otherness coiled in the craters of your stomach

Revel as your broad shoulders, that favour your indifferent Cousin Mingel, release the oppressive weight of imposterhood and collected hurts

Savour the taste of dirt and sweat overwhelming your too-square chin, and your tip-tilted nose, so unlike anyone’s else’s, as all your cells take root in this space where you were discounted and overlooked and envisage the decades of frustrated fury as it’s established you’re part of this legacy now and can never be removed

Anita Goveas is British-Asian, London-based, and fuelled by strong coffee and paneer jalfrezi. She was first published in the 2016 London Short Story Prize anthology, most recently in Little Fiction and Gone Lawn. She’s on the editorial team at Flashback Fiction, an editor at Mythic Picnic’s Twitter zine, and tweets erratically @coffeeandpaneer Her debut flash collection, Families and other natural disasters, is available from Reflex Press, and links to her stories are at

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