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Migrant

CAS for Database

Alisha Wong

Farmington, MN, USA

Farmington Senior High School

Poetry

That summer Mama leaves home &

                opens a tofu stall on a bleached boulevard

across the ocean where the metropolis

                drills her a new name from cement hymnals.

Every summer after she plays foreigner

                to gold silk and lotus flowers, sings against

the dreamsongs of ancestral symphony,

                her half-baked hands plastering egg-white

on cheekbones and swallowing down

                the Cantonese swimming in yolk.

Evenings & Mama’s breath smells of

                gutted fish eyes & rice cauterized in peanut oil;

she thinks of a time when the steam

                from gaau ji & cha siu baau saunter

across the rooftops, prayers extracted

                from lacquered temples, sipping starlight

among jaded seafoam. At midnight,

                the empyrean swells & shatters, sends shards

of moonlight to carve her monolids

                into crescents. Now, when Mama’s daughter

is kept tapered in between today and

                morrow, Mama hums to the poppy petals,

calls for the elegy of remembrance,

                lets the melody fragrance atavistic longing.

She imagines the arch of the willow

                branches delivering liminal sorrows.

In this tragedy, Mama dreams of the

                immemorial, unfolds her dynasty to diaspora.

EDITORIAL PRAISE

Through evocative, alluring, and ethereal language, "Migrant" paints a realistic and juxtaposing image of a struggle for identity that is torn between poignant longing and remote unfamiliarity. As readers, we long for the intimacy of Mama’s touch but only because of her transient presence in a shifting world.

Alisha Wong is a Chinese-American writer from the midwest. Her writing has been recognized by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers and St. Mary’s College among others. Her other works are published or forthcoming, including in The Heritage Review, Euphony Journal, Up North Lit, and The Rising Phoenix Review. In her spare time, she enjoys calligraphy, fashion, and black coffee.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR