Saturday, November 05, 2005

Home Visit

The soup tastes terrible. Not
the first time she adds too much salt.
She pours another,
“I know you miss my cooking.”
You force a smile, your fourth bowl.
There is no rush. The kitchen

is a mini stage; frenzied fruit flies dance
around rotten bananas hanging on
naked wall. Below, bold cockroaches
play hide-and-seek among
unwashed clothes. She asks

about her grandson, and scolds you
for not bringing him here. You blame
the long distance, and try to cheer
her with stories about junior,
how he made a card for your wife
on Mother’s Day. Before you leave

she passes you a packet of instant-noodles
wrapped in crumpled newspapers – a gift
to her grandson. You will return it
unwrapped, together with packets of rice,
sugar, salt, and lies

a month later
when you volunteer
again to be her
forgotten son.

Copyright 2005 Alson Teo
(Written on 22 September 2005)

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