when i left 婆婆’s place
the sky was drooling like an infant cutting her first tooth a pink mess of sunset and saliva and tender throbbing warmth. the train cried as it hurtled the 27 minutes from seawall to sleepy suburb and i wanted so much to kiss its windows and say 我知道 but we were packed shoulder to armpit in that compartment and i was afraid of the things the white sea could spit at my feet.
i didn’t know how to say
mri in chinese or how to explain the old age security form. why their subsidized bus pass would take another month to come into effect. once i took a popo to her cataract surgery and on the way home we passed the site where tamura house once stood where nothing lived now but splintered wood bones gone soft and slick with eastside mud. the popo took those bones dragged them home told me they would stop the roaches from crawling inside. what must we do so our seniors will no longer be pushed out of food lineups yelled at called dirty chinese on main and hastings? their old joints witnessed japanese imperialism groaned through childbirth now one popo tells me 我想死也死不了 while another smiles and says 我真是充满了爱. both times i couldn’t say anything back.
you deserve so much
more than impatient doctors mice under your beds children who have all grown up grown old forgotten the sound of 妈 coming from their own mouths. more than english drawing a line between those who deserve and those who take. more than silence.
Mary Chen is a queer Chinese Canadian artist and writer who has grown up in the cradle of unceded Coast Salish land. She is currently completing a BFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia and has previously been published in Looseleaf literary magazine.
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