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crow's feet & the rays of the sun

[This piece won First Prize in The Diversity Story Cultural Writing Competition - Middle School]


BY HALLIE DONG


they curl outwards,

stretching themselves to bask in the sun,

soft grooves twined upon aged skin,

a parentheses which whispers,

quietly,

after a sentence.


they’re the rays of sun,

flickering,

warm,

the golden shafts melting into

the sweet aroma of noodles.


Eat,

Chī bà,

she says, her

still-young hands

rest gently on my shoulder.

Don’t wait until it’s cold,

Bié děng dào liáng le.


my awkward Chinese follows,

Thank you,

xie xie,

I say,

imagining their chuckles in their minds.


Dumb American child,

the monster in my head cooes,

who can’t even speak.


but instead of laughing,

she smiles, and asks me if

I want a

Pear,


in awkward English.


the corners of my mouth tug upwards,

pulled by an invisible string,

and I say

Yes, of course,


my mouth turning into the corners

of her eyes,

which radiate and extend

into the smile of the sun.


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