an american birth
WRITTEN BY ALICIA HSU
i am thrust from white-tiled, Purell thighs crying for my mother, Taiwan;
her caresses laden with longing,
sighs slipping into the gutters of her paved streets.
i enter this world with eyes rooted in soil
learning that my cries tunnel so deep into the earth,
it splinters. a stray dog (xiao-hei) watches me,
sniffs my newborn body, and retreats.
my mother and i seldom speak but when we do,
it is in mind-numbing circles
around the things she hates in Chinese,
the things i love in English, both in a place
that has become the opposite of Home.
i fall asleep to the sound of Independence
and dream of heat stuffed in my mouth, lantern lights
burning through my stomach, coal shoveled into an inferno of prayers.
i wake up in two halves: one pulling and the other gone.
i reach for my mother’s hand, but it turns pearl
and polished to obsession; my fingers slip and i am falling,
falling, back into the beginning, between charred thighs.
Alicia Hsu is a Taiwanese-American senior in New York. Her work has appeared in Eunoia Review, Blue Marble Review, and more. When she isn’t dreaming up new stories or escaping in a fantasy novel, you can find her watching nostalgic movies and taking walks with her two dogs.