To mom, pt. 2

I miss the way you walked into my room at 6 in the morning, 

 

The way you used to gently caress my face 

 

With coarse, calloused hands warm from just wrestling the risen dough

 

“Dou, Mama made breakfast. Get up.” 

 

What I would give now to see that smile once more touch 

 

The cold corners of your lips, no matter how thin and patched, still split wide for me, still 

 

So beautiful. 


 

I miss the way you used to speed around the house thirty minutes before Zhangning Ayi’s potlucks. 

 

You shouted orders like a madwoman, coming in as brash as the Northeast winds and

 

Clearing a path wherever you went. 

 

Although I only showed you two furrowed brows and a deep pout, inside I admired your formidability. Only a great leader like you could pull this off. 


 

I miss how we used to fight on the way to school, and I leaned as far as I could towards the window, 

 

Chin jutted so high my face could’ve been a saucer for a heavenly teacup, fallen from the sky. 

 

You always had a steep slope, going this way and that, one thought always leading to the another

 

And another 

 

And another, 

 

Until all I could do was bite my lip until it bled so as not to yell back (I knew this would only bring up three or four new complaints from whatever I said, so I had to keep silent.) 


 

But most of all, I miss your heart, one so strong that it carried struggle and strife unknown, hardships you have never told anyone. 

Your heart, which gave me so much even when I didn’t deserve it. 

 

You could only repay every single one of my false deeds with a true, undeterrable love.

 

Tell me, how am I supposed to shake off all this guilt now? 

 

Your heart, it always believed. It was stupid, in a heartbreaking, naive way that made everyone want to protect it. The sweetest innocent, how could we not? 


 

Thank you, mama, you change my life. I don’t ever want to be scared of completely losing you again. Let’s make sure, for the rest of time, we never miss a single thing, until every single box checked and every last tear cried and every last hug cherished.

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Joy

Joy 

 

Is hard to find when you’re trying to look for it. 

 

It shows itself in the places you least expect. 

 

In the way my mom makes 长寿面 changshoumian, noodles that are as long as we will live.