chinese got what use? i cannot claim
to have it. already my grandmother
slips away, and i have yet to learn to
say goodbye the way she does. even
with her failing breath she sings to me
in a language i cannot comprehend.
i fear to answer. she cries for home.
we think of different places at once.
who am i? she asks. i can only give her
my name. clumsily, it trips over the
sterile air between us. it is all i have to
give, this shape of me in the language
only she can speak. whispering, she asks
if i will be coming home for dinner later.
the answer hovers on my lips; they are
not the words she’s looking for.
Dustin Wong is from Singapore. Their work has been featured in A Luxury We Cannot Afford (Math Paper Press, 2015), SingPoWriMo: The Anthology (Math Paper Press, 2016, 2018), Crust Catalog Volume 1: Food & Sex, and Words: Lost and Found (Coffee Stained Press, 2016). They are also part of the writing group known as The Atom Collective. Contrary to popular belief, their favourite colour is not green.