Grandmother By Molly Zhu


There are no direct flights
from Beijing to
At first, a patchwork jaunt
brings my grandmother
to me.
And I wonder what she thought
America would be like, then.

A conduit like this,
has always been fissured,
between us, space and time
sometimes spanned
tongues and years
and it was always
her half-a-day that lived
ahead of mine.

But when she still lived with us
at home, my grandmother’s slippers
were padded percussion.
The CCTV reads
chopped announcements –
the only midday voices
in her mother language.

In the kitchen,
scallions sliced,
longevity noodles hand-pulled,
tea leaves soaking up hot water
until they are fat with flavor –
the mailman comes,
the mailman goes.
Is this what it means to live in America?

If so, let the manicured rhythms
of small-town suburbia
play on –
My grandmother concocts
the slurry of pork and chives,
tucks them into miniature purses,
lacing the seams shut.

I would watch her furrowed hands,
siphon and coax,
the pocket she made
was only big enough to fit
a chopstick’s dollop.

But instead,
I want to stretch apart
the skin of water and flour,
drag out our memories and wrench away
the time zones that sit stoically between us.
Some days, when I am alone,
I dream I am waltzing from my front door,
one Tuesday evening, and
driving down the street
to my grandmother’s house.

By Molly Zhu


Molly is a new poet and writer. For her desk job, she is a corporate attorney in NYC. In her free time, she enjoys eating and thinking about words.

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