Fiction by Erin Chen


I wake to find the wheelbarrows lost again morning clouds bruising like an embryo under the weight of
our eyes. Mother keeps my sonogram framed in subjugation
its tunes that I forget Half choked smile and umber braids
smoothed to one side– Mother cries in my arms to say I am a
part of her, a 包子, baozi, she kept in her wound
language she spooned into my mouth and her eyes that I bask into mine
in every second. Her coins lay scattered with her paycheck,
unopened and sealed– unlike the other months.
I opened a palm to gesture, but instead, mom slips in a shaved kiwi
I stare long at the crown of freckles wondering if the green flesh will reattach itself
if the freckles are skinned From a distance, we hear the whistle of the train
Mother hurries me over while she greets our neighbors passing by,
telling them I was married off but in my fingers I carry books and papers, marked
with bolded x’s that were genetic, yet Mother tells me the x’s lead to evolution.
Everyone can have so much in a lifetime In the beginning, I was introduced to the quiet shh sound
after each word that sounded like a lullaby in the village, but this time
it ends with a break– the screeching halt separates
the morning air and the strings that connected
me with my past