Saturday 26 June 2021

'Defect' by Shareen K. Murayama

For the Asian-American who did not Become Doctors

From time to time, my mother calls and asks how I am doing. It’s May, closing of grades, another year, and the same. The mountain doves ebody their bird-brains, planting nests in frangible locations. It rains patches of hay that I don’t fish from the lawn and gutters. My mother updates me with her updates from our family the ones that don’t speak of me (ill or well) because no one flocks to me in an emergency. Her silence imitates them. I look over my valley, a quiet community of those not recognized within or without. In recent years, whole family units have defected here, the Land of Pish, denuded of old wives’ tales. At customs, suitcases are screened for antiquated hooks and sinkers, while hope chests are recycled for the mountain doves. Everyone feels so much lighter and pink. My mother calls from time to time, from some other distant land, and asks how I am doing, and tells me your shoes have always held more water than mine. Sometimes we don’t talk. We allow the birds to sing, before and after nesting, to anyone and no one.


First published in The Red Tree Review, August 2020.

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