Mother, in her slight accent,
calls olives “Oliver.”
She loves Oliver, brine
salty in her mouth.
Almost twenty-five years in America
and she cannot differentiate
between a man and a fruit,
but what is the difference, really?
Both are green,
hollow on the inside.
We eat until our cheeks are full
and pretend to be satisfied:
Oliver in our stomachs, something
similar to a stone, but softer,
like a half-dissolved body.
Oliver between our hips,
Mother and I buy red clothing for the winter.
She calls everything beautiful,
mispronounces the word at uneven
intervals, but says it right
when she looks at me, hair braided
into a facsimile of the girl she used to be.
You’re just like me, she says.
Beautiful, like me.
She is wrong, and I never know
how to tell her.
Our lips and our throats match,
but our tongues have no relation.
Her stomach growls.
I pose for her.
Grace Wang is an incoming freshman at Harvard College. Her work has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Hyphen Magazine, Columbia College Chicago, The Interlochen Review, & the Indiana Repertory Theatre. She is from Columbus, Indiana, but spends all of her summers in China, where she fell in love with storytelling.
Honorable Mention, International Young Writers Prize, Poetry