I was born in Maoming

to the sounds of sirens and in the midst of yellow smoke,

I’d imagine.


I was blessed.

I could have died nine minutes into my life.

Or before I took in my first polluted breath.

I could have been killed at the hands of my creators.


In my dreams, I was given a name

something short and dispassionate

a name to forget,

that I would never hear,

that would float down the banks of the Yangtze

where it could never be forgotten in the restless thoughts of a woman.


Christmas Eve, I flew home,

Now with a name, an embrace and a country.

My lips for the first time broke from my ingrained frown

And found the shape of a smile.

My mother held me in her arms and

I became a blessed one once more.


Our nation often speaks divided

We struggle against the crushing weight

Of our own choices,

and against an endless Rubiks cube of a system.


Yet, in this country, I smiled for the first time.

For love, for happiness,

For freedom.


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