Melody Chen


Stepped afoot a plane for the first time,

Lost count of the number of miles it took

To reach the land that seemed so much nearer on the map.

Had a daughter whose birth rooted a lineage in foreign soil.


Packed an entire culture into her suitcase,

Lugged it across the ocean,

Only to have it opened by a daughter who lost her way

In a myriad of alien traditions and customs

That tangled like Christmas lights.

Wondered how she would teach her daughter

Tens of thousands of characters,

When her school teachers had told her everything could be expressed

With twenty six letters.

Gifted her daughter an intricate name worth an essay, and watched it be abandoned

For one that was lighter on the Western tongue.


Mined iron to construct her daughter’s bones,

Her own arms only strong after having to lift up an entire family.


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