Morning Porridge

Before the pork buns steamed
in the pot, moisture in their
white folds, before the dried tofu
was trimmed into thin strips,

my father raked long-grain rice
out of the mesh bag, poured a bowl

of porridge, spread dried pork
shreds and salted peanuts into

a heap on top. Each morning
my grandmother listened for steam

rising up the stairs. She reclined
on her bed with the blue hydrangea

pattern I wanted. I handed her
the tray, glanced at the expanding

brown mass on her face. Day
after day, my father told me not to

wear white in my hair, not to leave
chopsticks vertical in a bowl of rice.

I did it anyway. One by one, the raisins
I stole from the box on her bedside table.

READ THIS POEM IN OTHER LANGUAGES
COMMENTS OF THE POEM