An Abecedarian for Szechuan
America doesn’t smell like this, was my first thought coming back after seven years. Cigarette butts fill the gaps between pavement, diseased daisies in this industrial meadow. Enter here: Follow the familiar curve of your grandmother’s eyelid to your own, kiss her gentle brow, kiss hands that pucker from monsoons of acid past. If her love is tucked into the gap between your teeth, or cold jade pressed into your palm, you must know that it is love, all the same. Mandarin may sometimes feel like pumice against your skin, and niceties may slip through the cracks that seem to show over and over in quiet places. Your memory will be quite selective—you will remember the ghosts that flitted between yellowed walls: How sad it is that she has an accent. You can trace stitched satin in the damask that flowers across your pillow, under your sheets. You will feel as though it is all in vain, this trying, all this trying, but you must try to see this wrinkled love. Xiǎo gū niáng, little princess, little girl, you must yell. You must grow, zhǎng , it lingers on your mother’s tongue. Sabrina Mei is a sophomore in the MSB studying Marketing, Analytics, and Film & Media Studies. She is one of the Executive Editors for the INDY.