Best of Everything

by Fara Ling Shu Sean



I last saw my kor poh
standing knee-deep in the drain,
throwing scoopfuls of a dull yellow liquid 
from a bucket onto her Chinese kale.
When my dad parked
she walked slowly out to us,
pail of urine in her right hand and plastic bottle scoop in her left, 
legs bowed away from each other,
bones built without milk
over a childhood of battling with ten siblings 
for mackerel heads and chicken feet.
She held the pail away from us, 
sat on the two-foot high wall, 
wiped her fingers on her shorts. 
I wish you - best of everything, 
she said.
She cradled her fingers in her lap,
root-shaped fingers the color of fried bamboo shoots 
she cooked for us several Chinese New Years ago.
Last night, like last year, we ate at a restaurant—
she's on the wrong side of eighty with
too many relatives to cook for.
She had worn a hairpiece and thick-soled teacher's shoes.
Lu m'tang go all the way there dui lai with an ang mor boyfriend ah, 
she warned,
no coming back with a white boyfriend. 
Don't forget us.


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