The Student-Run Newspaper of Williams College Since 1887

Well-Being – Jessica Jiang

April 20, 2022

Mama it’s okay to say my name with love.
I’m a newborn all my trauma left behind.
I’m happy enough to forget you.
You can try again. You won’t
believe this but someone loves me
and all I had to give was a little soul.
I wake with her sunlit and my mouth
overflowing with soft things.
I’m so afraid to lose this now I know
why you stayed. All your lessons burn
at the back of the throat fumes coming up
as laughter. Happiness so tangible
it warms this close-fisted town.
I got away.
If only you can see me now I’m
becoming a white person
thinking I deserve happiness.
soy sauce bottle
something snaps
I’m reminded of your broken body
my hands rubbing coconut lotion into cracked
back. Your bones marinated
with the chicken wings
then everything fried brittle.
The customers call you bitch and I write you
into poems. Same thing.
I’m trying I swear
I’m forgetting the restaurant
and my sisters and Dad and my
yellow body caught in stained glass
is you at the day’s end.
I’ve forgiven all that I can forget
this poem a drying woodpile soon.
I am not disgusting without you
no one to remind me
of safety nets and humility.
I love and I believe these words
can sustain it’s all a waste I’m laughing
I need to wake from this euphoria.
Mama I’m scared
you taught me so much but not happiness.
Good fortune a cracked bowl
cutting open this flesh made fresh
from your desiccated womb.
I’m all dewy and naïveté.
if I’m well
is that alright
if I return to you

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