efflorescence

United States

16 | INFJ | ♀️| massachusetts

[ summer + fall 2019 ] peer ambassador

just a melancholy, existential girl with a penchant for poetry, fairy tales, and magical realism.

Message to Readers

contest is over so i'm republishing this :)

sericulture mother

July 2, 2020

FREE WRITING

15
the other girls call me 留守儿
    left behind
because 妈妈 packed her bags with blouses and promises
        caught the train to 杭州
and shed a single lotus petal tear
            as she said goodbye in a cloud of grime and grit.
i unfurled my love-lost hands, imbibed her crumpled sorrow:
                 加油,我的爱
but the greedy hands unspooling my ratty pigtails
                     knocking my knees against the humid silt
and filching sweetened rice from rough-hewn chopsticks
                            do not tell me to fight on.
 
妈妈 hums to me as i drift to sleep beneath a latticed roof
    singsongs the impregnation of my name
嫘祖, she lullabies, calls me the princess who drinks herbal tea
         shakes cocoons from mulberry trees 
and weaves her misfortunes into silken cloth
              and i have misfortunes aplenty 
so i purchase bamboo platters
                  feed silkworms 桑树 leaves
and listen to their pitter-patter rainfall
                       a replacement for stolen serenades
that salve the schoolgirl taunts
                           into a metronome of hope.
 
a week of immolating solitude
    leads to steaming drowning pupas
reeling diaphanous filaments into muted spools
        and looming lambent sheets that stretch across the cottage floor.
i stitch 妈妈’s lotus tears into a blouse
            weave her sorrows into silken handkerchiefs
and embroider mulberry leaves into lilt-limned brocades. 
                in her wake i wait and swill herbal tea in forlorn seats
greet bustling city trains in fulgent dreams 
                    and lullaby myself to sleep.
i befriend the silkworms and promise
                        even princesses get left behind.

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  • July 2, 2020 - 4:52pm (Now Viewing)

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6 Comments
  • Tula.S

    this is so bold and I love it. It is beautiful to have the reader fill in the blanks, this adds a strange sort of mystery to the piece that can't be obtained any other way. Lovely!!!


    2 months ago
  • inanutshell

    hi, i really like this poem! one thing to note would be the eighth line, i agree with what @chrysanthemums&ink had mentioned! also, the second half of the line, with the last 3 characters 'wo de ai', i think you might have been going for a literal translation of 'my love', which is how it sounded to me, but a more context-relevant one that can be used is 'qin ai' (which means sweetheart). 'wo de ai' refers to more of the love a person feels herself, and sounds very awkward when used as pet names/nicknames in casual conversations. just a slight observation, but other than that, this poem is great! i especially love the small details and imagery you've created here!


    5 months ago
  • joella

    "knocking my knees against the humid silt/ and filching sweetened rice from rough-hewn chopsticks" and
    " weave her sorrows into silken handkerchiefs/ and embroider mulberry leaves into lilt-limned brocade"
    your attention to detail when it comes to Chinese culture is exquisite and so is this imagery. good luck in the competition!


    5 months ago
  • chrysanthemums&ink

    this is such a beautiful poem with a lovely mood and exquisite details that i love to death! i'll make sure to savor it before it disappears :).
    a note: i'm not going to put the actual chinese characters in here because for some reason, WtW is not letting me post this comment with them in. on line eight, the first two chinese characters are mainly used to cheer people on during sports competitions or intensive exercise. it might be more fitting to use a more literal translation of 'come on' which sounds more tender (which is what i think you were going for :)). you can find it by searching up 'google fanyi' and inputting the words 'come on'. what shows up should have the pinyin 'laiba'. sorry about the inconvenience, but i've been trying to comment this for 8 hours now and it won't work with the characters.
    this is absolutely brilliant and i adore it.


    5 months ago
  • sunny.v

    the chinese characters you used are so so pretty!! it's a very unique incorporation into a piece! also i had to look up sericulture, and i was very pleased. you set up such a nice and clear atmosphere that runs together nicely, it's so pretty! also thank you for the welcome and for your delightful comment! ^-^


    5 months ago
  • Deleted User

    Amazing poem! I believe you added some Chinese in which is cool. Overall, I love your poem:)


    5 months ago