Ma, remember how you would hold me? 
It was on days just like these: 
we took naps under the curtains,
dozed off sun—us steamed sweet 
like overused bamboo baskets.

dozed off son: our hands 
pressed together 
(remember, you were happy)

You would take me to the market
stringed beneath those drunken stars, 
elegies of your husked breath seeding sighs 
within the concrete. You remained 
unspoken, but I heard how you thought back to Pa 
and missed how He held us too, 
musculature and all. 


I think back to when I was five, how

we broke sunflower seeds 
with our teeth.
Back then

I thought the chip in your smile 
was a splintering—

the same bite that bit yourself raw,

but it was just your fingers
picking at it 
until it eroded away
and away.

Five o’clock, five feet deep below 
the rubber soles of your burdened feet. 
Do you think back then, too?
It wasn’t so bad. 
Look at me again, Ma—
run your hands through my hair, black,
and I’ll run 
my hands down your cheek,

Kevin Gu