daughter/tiger/tauter/tighter

baba cried the night we had to
leave. he is a good man, nearly
seven feet tall but wears the air
above him like he is asking for
forgiveness. the night before we
slip            out of this country, he
tells me why i should return.

                        bao bao, he rumbles, in the
                        darkness of my grandmother’s
                        bedroom. the knife of light on
                        the floor births me into
                        rectangular being. you should
                        not be ashamed.

i know well of the things he tells
me: dead rabbits and hung dogs,
chairman portraits on crumpled
dollar bills, dusty Mongolian
roads and dead vertical scripts in
the Gobi. my nomadsmen speak
and i do not understand; i must
tell them, with my own cracked-
skull voice, that i am not one of
them. that i am no more familiar
to them than the white-fleshed
fist            pressed against their
cheek.

                        when my cousins show me their
                        shrine, their pyramids of
                        oranges in blue bowls and
                        incense, i can only nod.
                        allegory, meet ancestor.

i do not know what to do with
myself when i watch him wipe
the tears away. inverted halo,
beijing crackles black judgement
on my turned back. i have never
seen a man as big as him weep. i
roll my suitcase down the
linoleum and try not to look
back.

Anne Fu is a non-binary teenager from somewhere in southern Ontario. They enjoy showing empathy to small insects and have been published a couple of times before.

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