Following is the transcript of a poem from senior Lucy Chuang’s poetry thesis. Note: This poem has been edited in Chuang’s final thesis draft.
(In memory of the victims lost in the Atlanta spa shootings on March 16, 2021.)
Our mothers cut fruit into the shape of howling faces, smooth our raven hair down with oil, stitch the holes in our sleeves so we can wear them again.
Warm water when they hear a cold coming on. Shoulder the weight of Earth’s edges so we don’t feel the land ridges.
Swallow their dreams so we don’t. Hold their breath at the sting of the pain.
Release it to ours.
Count cash at the family restaurant.
Bag groceries in green plastic bags. Use a Weed Whacker instead of a lawn mower.
And smack watermelons, looking for a sound we’re destined never to hear.
They crossed the ocean in boats as big as bedrooms.
Shoulder the strangers who approach looking for a mother-daughter combo.
Learn our language because we’re hopelessly lost when it comes to theirs.