I Remember, I Remember
By Lady E

While the crowd rushes past on rickety wheels,
Bicycles and taxis whirling en masse,
I stand conspicuous, luggage in hand,
Searching for a face, a sight, a strand
Of familiar memory. I search in vain.

Dodging through the mill of middle class,
Perspiring 'neath the smoggy sky,
I wonder where the beggars lie.
"So much I've heard" – now lofty disdain –
"A poor nation, third world country." Never once

Do I consider the five years spent
Calling this foreign land "home" so long ago.
Awkward smiles I aim, pleasantries forego,
Grasping at language I can never sustain.
An ocean of distance, a thirteen year dent,

Coming back here was never my intent.
Too hot for steamed buns, too old for sweets,
Too fond a past for so jaded a girl;
I step through the doors with a haughty twirl
And brake at the sight beyond the streets.

The click of chopsticks, the muted drone,
The family whose memory clings like sheets
Drenched by rain on a muggy day. Time flips,
Folding backwards until – thump! – I am thrown
Into fields of rice and soap operas well known.

"How do you do," I say with tears on my lips,
And the floorboards answer with the proper squeak,
"So much you've changed in so short a time;
How much longer will you want to climb?"
But I am content for now, and home is all I seek.

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A/N: Largely based on Philip Larkin's 1954 poem "I Remember, I Remember," a copy of which can be found at www . rswheeldon . com / wierd / nothing . html (without the spaces). A simple exercise for a creative writing class. Thanks for reading!

April 11, 2007