bring your ghosts with you | Lacey Yong
Listen, one chop lopped the gangrenous finger; then Ma was gone, your sister said. You clutched the phone and the cord stretched like the years separating you from home. Your grandmother visited me in my dreams, you told me the next morning. Her head floated above her body, bloody. Ghosts are like that: they arrive from a foreign land to sit at your breakfast table, watching you crack eggs and inhale the scent of roasted coffee. No distance, no dwindling funds, no pricy flights to hold them back. They are freer than immigrants. Still, the strain of travel must have severed Poh Poh’s head from her heart.
How will I live when you are gone? Directionless as a headless ghost. But I could knit the sinews of us together with stories. Recall my grandfather’s house – how I could sleep beneath the mosquito netting and wake to the heat curled against my back, the cock crowing biblical in the yard and the picture of Jesus blessing us from Auntie’s bedroom, his heart red as the sunset I once saw on the beaches of Penang. When I leave the house, I will bring its ghosts with me; then when you visit, I won’t be afraid. Your blood will be the monsoon rain slapping the palm leaves and soaking the plots of Poh Poh and the old women who know how to coax vegetables from the soil. They will sell marrow at the market and I will consume the cool, sweet flesh, absorbing the rain back into myself.
Lacey Yong is an emerging Chinese-Canadian writer. Her creative nonfiction recently debuted in Prairie Fire and she is working on her first YA novel. She lives in Calgary, Canada, but often dreams of her other homelands, Malaysia and London, UK. Follow her @lacey.yong on Instagram. Twitter: @lacey_yong