Do you remember
how I was dropped into your waiting arms
seventeen years ago? Was I heavy,
a bundle of meaty fists and flailing limbs?
Did I cry? Did you cry with me? I hope they were happy
tears. Were your wishes of becoming grandparents
fulfilled? Did I look like my father when he was younger?
Did I get my squished nose and lopsided grin from him?
Do you remember how I crawled underneath the bed
to take a nap when I was four, how you called
my name and searched for hours, asking
the entire village to help? When I woke, I found you
in tears. Were you more angry or relieved?
Months later, as summer ripened the lóngyǎn
that grew in our yard, I dragged a chair outside to pick
them from the hanging branches. I slipped
and fell, scraping my palms raw. Do you remember
how tears leaked from my eyes, how you kissed
my forehead and bandaged my cuts? Do you remember
when I tugged on the hem of your pants, you hoisted me
on your shoulders so I could reach the fruits? You smiled
as I offered them to you, eyes crinkling at the corners.
When I turned six, I was to return to America, leaving
the soil of our ancestors once more. Do you remember
how I clung to your leg and cried, unwilling to leave you
behind? I promised to call but forgot as the months blurred
into years. Did you know that would be the last
we saw of each other? I did not know. I am sorry
I broke my promise; we are now strangers,
separated by thousands of miles and a tongue
I do not remember.
Anna Xiao is a second year from Long Island, New York studying Computer & Data science. She lives for ice cream but is mildly concerned that her obsession is becoming a borderline addiction.