Grandma’s elevator

I slip through the cheap threads of your beaded curtain
            the one with the shape of teardrops
            whose color I can no longer recall
and send the strings off on a chaotic little dance
before stepping out. The milky hallway light flickers alive
at the sound of plastic clashing against metal frames

A spectrum of grey stains the weary old walls—its scars
            barely showing through
                        layers of faded and fresh tattoos
In a corner, the moldy skeleton of an abandoned Victorian chair lies
with three legs facing up

Suspended is the sweet, thick smell
of something sticky cooking on the stove
            She’s always liked that kind of food
            father would repeat at your grave
            And so, every year of that same, wretched day
            the mountain crows would find a glutinous treat

The light dims out as I slide into the magic little box
            the silver cage that shut away my last memory of you
and turn to face your silhouette
Bye, I say, raising my hand like an awkward student
who doubts their own response. You remain
tensely standing, hauntingly silent
hands by your sides like a soldier awaiting order

But there was no response
Before the elevator took me away

Rellie Liu is an undergraduate junior studying Biology and English at Stanford University. She was born in China and raised in Vancouver, Canada.

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