Perigee

In Lamplight You Are Made Whole

She would make a portrait of her mother shrouded in darkness, holding a clay oil lamp. When Chaya closed her eyes she could see the full image, the jellyfish-like light patterning the space around her mother’s head, her free arm reaching out, as if to Chaya beyond the frame. In her vision, her mother’s hand covered Chaya’s face, blocking any sound from coming out.

When You Call Me Names

When my mother was 13, she used to wake up at sunrise every day and carry him on her back to queue for rationed rice. Later, while he and the five siblings would slurp the steamy rice diluted with hot water to fill up the bowls, my mother would fan the charcoal stove with one hand, the other holding down the growling of her belly.

China Patterns

In London, your new apartment has one room, two toasters, and no locks on the doors. Your children’s three little heads knock against one another in a twin bed as they sleep. A tall man with rosacea spits on you at the bus stop. Another grabs his crotch and calls you señorita.