Farmington, MN, USA
Farmington Senior High School
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.
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