At the airport my father balks
at the weight of my suitcase, the crushed wheel
that will not spin, the way I’ve had
to drag the bag over grime and carpet instead.
With one stoop he lifts the suitcase by its middle,
hefts it onto his shoulder and walks.
I think of eggplants.
The tight rows he showed us
with so much pride, each green tuft
nurtured by a shoulder carrying water.
The joy when we found one
hidden in the shade like a peeled egg.
Winter on the farm, how he would chew
raw cloves of garlic, eyes smarting, to fill his belly.
His home a night’s train ride from the nearest city:
the rough mud-brick walls with straw
sticking out, the hard beds, the
well with a metal lid to get drinking water
where I once found a fish so tiny I mistook it for light.
Stephanie Niu is a student from Marietta, GA who currently studies at Stanford University. Her poems have been published in Metafore Magazine (2019), Rainy Day (2017), Liminality (2015), and Writer’s Block Magazine (2015), among others. Outside of verse, she experiments with art-making through dance, videography, and machines.