A Poem by Sandy Benitez

Squatting silently on a rattan shelf
above the kitchen sink like a statue
of Buddha, a fat porcelain bowl of
lemongrass infuses the room with memories
of childhood; sipping bowls of steaming,
hot beef noodle soup with my brother
as we made faces at each other
and licking our lips dry after tasting
mom’s dessert of sweet tapioca pearls
in custard. I never wanted those moments
to end. Neighbors looked at mom
with curiosity, as if she were an alien.
Dad told us mom was from Thailand.
I knew it was a country, just not sure
where it was. She didn\’t seem very different
to me; she was just my mom. Until one day
I looked in the mirror at my own reflection;
a tiny face rudely stared back at me
just like strangers did, trying to figure out
where I came from and what I was.