here are the mountains— even though Ma said that
the highest mountain we have in this wretched
place is a hill— that I awed at from Pa’s shoulders,
resting on hollow bones and shaky foundations.
and he tires,
so he lets me down, lets me down, lets me down,
lets us all down.
here are the dumplings that Ahma made in her kitchen of
rust-coated memories. hurt simmers in the slow cooker, I count
the jars of hand-me-down rage.
Ma says that women are
made of rage. born to howl,
to claw, to deserve more—
then I ask her about Pa and
why she settled for less.
& Ahma says that women are made
of pain— the kind that looks like
biting the skin off your fingers to
stop the shaking. Ahma says that a
girl’s best friend is her pain, her
blisters, her heartache, that if it
makes you bleed then it is worth
here is the dinner table, and Ahpa says 一起吃, eat together,
like it hurts, like losing baby teeth, that bit of enamel clinging to
that bit of gum. and we eat in silence or we do not eat at all. and
I remember learning to write: 回家, go home, but
I do not know how to go home.
here are the floorboards, wooden and termite-nibbled,
and we step on broken glass, fall asleep mid-scream,
whisper lullabies under our beds, and hover like fireflies—
between lost and not wanting to be found,
between not having a home and not wanting one,
we hover like fireflies, it’s funny, they eat their own kind.
here are the streets, that echo my name, like a recurring
nightmare I can never shake off.
here is a house, a roof and four walls, and doors too easy
to walk out of. here is a house, and the ghost of a family,
the ghost of a home. & here is the ache that we pass down
the generations, a family heirloom, an ancestral curse.
Laetitia K. is a poet, or otherwise tired wallflower, fascinated by creation & cosmos. Her work has appeared in L’Éphémère Review & Tongue Tied Magazine. She is the author of two self published chapbooks, ELEVEN TWELVE (2016) and Every Open Wound (2017).You can find her in a rainy city, or at softstained.tumblr.com