i am thirteen years old and flowers bloom. there’s no limit to my horizon
but my little dome, a terrible, oppressive thing.
there’s something about the way the air feels—cloudy,
unclear, like polluted water, bordering on stifling.
last year i was scared, maybe, and this year i am too,
but something gnaws at the ghost of last year and
things are newer now; how is my life? good, thanks for asking—
lotuses are of kind silence. i am thirteen and i visited china
during the lotus blooms, watched the buds grow into blossoms
as i walked on the winding lake bridges. and everyone wore dresses
and i thought it was weird that their normal was our formal;
the dome shatters when the sky is another sky.
my mom’s company fell into chaos on her vacation,
her seat shakes with the vigor of two average earthquakes;
average because the only one that could ever hurt her
she experienced a half a country away from the epicenter in 2008.
stop—wait—be kind to me, please. my hands never shook
before i turned thirteen, the pre-lotus waters slithered about my pulse—
they were beckoning, told me china wanted me there,
i’d always hold a home there, that i’d be back there soon enough,
that if so desired i could prosper there in ways unthinkable
to a me that stayed in america, if i just go there.
sweet, sweet, little rain, xiaoyu, that was me and only me,
i’ve only heard little rain in china,
even the full-bloom lotus lakes called me little rain.
i was little rain more than i was claire—i am thirteen and i am little rain,
the lotuses told me i wasn’t home in the dome; the misty air—
it clogged my nose, i couldn’t breathe the leftovers,
sweet little rain—i only loved her when she didn’t connect me to my shaking hands.
i am thirteen now, ask me how my life is; alright, and you?