To Qinghe MAG

March 6, 2014
By Anonymous

Bowls of gardenia blossoms wetly kissing the rims in
a panic of leeching brown;
five year crab plant silently peering from
under its spindly limbs to its sentinel roaming the kitchen. This is our daily rock:
the uselessly thick chopsticks
wondering at her habit of washing
disposable bamboo ones and lovingly burying them, neighbors,
in an endless cycle of gray rubber coffins.
Hard to close the eyes to evidence of
some unfathomably, terribly fragile
corduroy bird
flitting between the rice cooker and
the wok in the too-large slippers
that everyone's feet have mangled.
(Mine too.)
It is easier to pretend not to notice
the flat face,
thaw, longing flat and lonely for the
first touch of wrinkled thumb pads
in the fifteen years since it was installed.

Or some bone will fall from someone's mouth, ting, on the table as she
Meilin, not meimei or baobei as my
parents' milk croon coo, hers instead
shivering contraction of wrinkled
maroon lips. Soft. The warhorn
call of a tough octogenarian with the
guts and the guns to have eternally
defeated me in arm wrestling. Wàipó: 12,
me: a fat, fat 0.
Dripping heaps of heavenly di san xian
eggplant being airlifted two feet and
into my bowl, hearty comrades of tomato and egg, strange mushrooms barging
to colonize my rice
Wàipó, I did not ask for this radish,
smiling helplessly. Eat, she replies, face blank to state, how could you imagine
doing otherwise. I smile and shrug,
open sesame, my mouth now a bin for
this love that I cannot stop,
this hunger of ours that must
eventually wane
after the taste of six long hours of CCTV
endless games of Sudoku, oh Nanjing
blood misting yellow skies,
hei, this blossoming youth pinned to the earth by her pale calves
spitting fire in Shanghainese as the world slowly uncurls from her wok-lifting punches
falling pit, pat softer and lighter on
its shifting skin.

This is love.

The author's comments:
Wàipó is what you'd call your maternal grandmother in Mandarin.

Hàoch?léi means delicious in Shanghainese.

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