Mother Tongue

By Sophie Liu-Othmer

I speak Chinese to my dog

Baby, my precious son, my heart and liver*

How beautiful you are

Yellow coat, and those black eyes

Oh, they are even slanted like mine

 Mother Tongue 

By Sophie Liu-Othmer

I speak Chinese to my dog

Baby, my precious son, my heart and liver*

How beautiful you are

Yellow coat, and those black eyes

Oh, they are even slanted like mine

 

I see you are thinking about

what makes my red braised pork divine

Grandpa in China made it divine

You've decided on my egg rolls-                               

Not even buttered fresh sourdough changed your mind

                         

You soar in my Chinese lyrics like

Clouds dancing on evening winds

You sprint in long strides of Chinese syllables

-to build for me the mounts of green, in slow motion

your enlarged eyes grin for Chinese ghosts

 

I awoke from eating piles of jujubes

You licked your chops and sighed with me

Raindrops from a Chinese tree      

My yellow son, my yellow sun-                        

Come closer to me

                                     

 

Smooth my wrinkled soul upon the sea   

 

 

*心肝 (heart and liver): This Chinese expression comes from a belief that liver isthe seat of emotions.

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