169 tagged with #daily

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soup vendors


there was a particular kind of tofu soup that my father craved. my cousins and i followed him from vendor to vendor. "tofu soup?" he'd ask, before being invited to sit down at one of the small tables.

"sorry, we're out of soup already."

this went out all up and down the street. "i can't believe it," he lamented. "how can everyone be out of soup?"

after a while, my cousins couldn't take it any more. "look, uncle," one of them said, gently. "they all have tofu soup, but no one wants all four of us to take up a table just to sell you one bowl of soup. you have to sit down and order other food, and then ask for a bowl of soup."

"i only want soup," my father said, frustrating rising in his voice. "i only want soup."

we passed a turtle soup shop, where you could pick out a turtle from a live tank and have soup served in the shell. we passed steamed dumpling shops that would finish cooking in bamboo cases on the table. we passed candy shops, and i remembered my father telling me a story from his childhood when he convinced his youngest brother to eat sheep droppings by saying they were candy.

later, we settled on having a full lunch just so my father could have his tofu soup.

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29 March 2018 16:33


scraps


and the same moon rises night after night
the rivers always flow to the sea
the sun will return tomorrow
i'll never be lost for long
i'll never be lost for long

---

this slow, pattering rain continues forever.

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28 March 2018 22:51


the foster girl


i remember the foster girl in our class because she was two heads taller than the rest of us. i didn't know what was wrong with her, other than watching all the other kids avoid her, and watching them watch me with suspicion because i didn't know to avoid her. but slowly, i learned, too; she wanted friends, but she'd hit and push more than she should. once, she knocked me off the ice block made from snow plowed off the kickball field, then slipped down after me and landed on my head with her back.

i laid on the ice for a long time; the teachers eventually brought us both inside, and, strangely, made me ice my head, even though i was cold and complained.

one day, her grandmother came to class with her, and played hand-clapping games with us. that was the only day she seemed happy and calm.

i only remember her being in our class for a short period.

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27 March 2018 22:56


rituals


this was how we went to sleep at my grandmother's house:

the apartment had two bedrooms, but we all piled into hers; mats rolled across the floor, windows were tightly shut, lights extinguished. for fifteen minutes, the air conditioning was run at its highest setting, circulating incense. the incense was a hot plate that had a small slot for a piece of felt soaked with mosquito repellent. the room needed to sit with incense and air conditioning without us, while we stayed in the moist living room in our underwear, waiting.

in my later life, this memory feels like banishing spirits. we'd enter the room after the prescribed purification time was over, my cousin and my grandmother and i all slipping through the narrowly opened door in one quick motion. i was armed with the electric mosquito racket, because my job was to kill any remaining insect that didn't faint in the sticky fumes.

some of the bigger mosquitoes spanned multiple cables on the racket, and i could hold the buzzer until they ruptured, spraying a mouthful of blood into the air. the blood was probably mine, or my kid cousin's.

we kept a chamber pot in the bedroom, because once we had sealed ourselves in, the door was not to be opened until morning. i only remember needing to use it two or three times during that entire summer, because i'd try to use the toilet before starting our bedroom-sealing rituals. it didn't matter for the smell, though; usually, someone else in the room would fill it in the night.

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26 March 2018 22:28


winter waning


the valleys that run east-west will show you which side faces the sun more often. the creek draws a dividing line; dark and wet on the slope that's a shady south, and grey and glowing where it faces north. the south slopes are where you smell the musk of bedding animals, the rot of early spring, the press of urgent sprouts; on the north slopes, water occasionally drips.

globs of snow still hang in some trees, like sloughing nests about to slip to the ground. a branch occasionally springs up, a startling motion, freed from the burden of crystalline moisture.

i can't tell if i'm cold or warm on days like this.

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25 March 2018 17:28


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