Eat fish, you said, and become smart, so I did and learned to make my eyes grow big and my mouth silent, learned to become small and slippery, watching every bruise bloom and listening to every midnight sob and staying hidden. Eat pig trotters, you said, and become beautiful, so I did and became a glistening thing, gelatinous and see-through and always shimmering in and out of love. Eat peaches, you said, and live forever, so I fed them to you, sliding pale orange morsels dripping with nectar one by one between your cracked lips while hums and beeps of machinery played you a lullaby. You told me that mooncakes once held secret messages, so I made them just like you taught me, with flaky skin and red bean filling blushed with rose water, and when I bit into the cake I heard your voice once more: Have you eaten yet?
Let's Make Lasagna
You always take your time when you peel garlic, stripping off the paper skin one layer at a time, each gauzy piece of clothing falling to reveal more flesh, white as moon, white as egg. Your fingers tremble as they rip apart the head, cloves cleaving from the stem in a violent un-homing. You reach for your butcher knife. With a swallow, you bring the flat of the blade down hard on the precious globes, smacking the teeth until they crack open, splattering you with their insides. The acrid stink sends a jolt of electricity down your spine. Crevices shyly reveal secrets. The blade glints in the kitchen light, blinding you. You don’t have to see what’s in the silver mirror. You already know it’s her smile, reflecting your own. You love her, you think to yourself. Even though you’re not supposed to.
is a freelance writer and mother living in Chicago. Her work can be found in HAD, JAKE, Bright Flash Literary Review
and Your Impossible Voice
. Find her on Twitter @ezhang77