a taste of home


Note from the author: "[This is a] poem about the flavors that make moments of my life, components of my identity—losing the love language of food and finally rediscovering it again"

home was a taste before it was a place —

strawberry pocky lychees

jelly tubes milk candy

bao zi from the vendors on the street

memories unlock with faint aromas

qq candies for perfect scores

sea salt of the marketplace

spicy smoked kebabs from carnivals

airplane noodles in a foreign land

steamed fish in silent snow

ew? what’s that? leftovers?

the classroom is deafening in its silence

suddenly all the sweet smells of home become pungent odors of the odd one out:

a single sandwich, white bread sans crust sans sauce, replaced the little thermos of home’s flavors for the next eight years.

but my taste buds still hold tales of identity

even when i hide it from everyone else

slowly, slowly, it manifests in the form of

fries dipped in hot pot mix boba trips with new friends

bursts of hi-chews from art class seaweed packages everyone begs to have shared

food is a love language, i remind myself

in the little platters of sliced fruit my parents bring to my room

in the laughter and white-floured-mess of making dumplings together

in the rediscovery of snacks from a childhood so faint i thought i’d imagined them

home is a flavor

that melts in my mouth

and i’ve learned to be proud

to have all these memories to savor

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