Food and Family

Mid-Autumn Festival
The day Dad would bring home
Mooncakes filled with red or mung bean paste;
With any luck, we’d find a generous chunk
Or two
Of those orange-yellow duck yolks—
Like treasures in a chest,
Or even better, a moment’s rest;
So we’d place the day’s hopes
On the golden-brown pastry,
On the curious characters I hadn’t yet learned:
And Prosperity

Dinner prep
The four of us—
Mother, Father, Brother, Me
Gathered around a giant bowl
Of ground up pork seasoned
With ginger, soy sauce, garlic, and chives
And just a touch of sesame oil;
Ready with our wonton wraps
The kind that came in a package
Mom didn’t like to make them from scratch
She was tired;
We’d ball up, moisten, fold, and press
‘Til the platter was heavy, and the bowl was empty,
Then into the boiling water they’d go—
Like us
And we’d take turns standing by the stove
Waiting, watching for the dumplings to rise
To float
To the top
Like we might someday;
Then we’d devour them,
Consuming those moments of harmony and hope

kōng ​xīn ​cài
Mom grew it in the backyard garden
It was her favorite
Mine too,
Surprisingly filling for a hollow-stemmed leaf
Reliably reliable,
We ate it like we ate our pain.


Categories: Poetry, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , ,

4 replies

  1. This is great!!! I feel like I am there in the kitchen with you all.
    Do you also perform poems live?

    • Thank you! I never have. Even though I’m used to performing original songs live, the thought of reciting a poem is a bit terrifying. It’s so naked. There’s no guitar or keyboard or band.

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