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Dear Future Child by Mimi Yang

Updated: Jun 12, 2022

dear future child

dear future child, I was asked today if it

was even moral to have you at all. should I

bear unto the flames another nightingale to

sing my own name? in 10 years you would be

born to the inferno. in 10 years I would

bear you to die where I once made a home.

dear future child, I was 5 when I decided I

would like to be a mother. my grandmother

said motherhood was an art of sacrifice. If I do

become a mother, remind me to teach you

how to be as transparent as the wind. To move

hope unto another if that makes things softer.

dear future child, when you grow older I only

want you to remember where you came from,

& that is the farmer’s market where they made

my hands the sickle and my feet the plow. I

spent a lifetime trying to hide my heritage,

to forget wherever the exile is, within me.

dear future child, say that you do see the hurting,

in its seething form. I would hope it is twisted

open from the flame, then you do what my family

has done for decades & you make breathing an art

of strength. like my family, there are too many

lives inside you. & all of them thirsty for return.

dear future child, I want you to know the lilacs

I left in the garden will bloom, now & forever, like

a reminder that you’ll be okay. at the very least, you’ll

be alive. and in thirty years your child will crawl

breath-first into the garden & she won’t forget the

work your ancestors have done to call this home.

dear future child, I can only say I’m sorry. when I

grow old the blood will run stale & the fires will

burn faster across the marshes. you will only have

the memory when you leave Earth in search for better.

& when you move to a foreign land I want you to

remember, I left you here to keep going without me.

dear future child, remember, your home is a diptych.

you will love the country one second & the other

you will flee as if the waves turned in & told you, run!

most of all I want you to remember where I taught

you to hurt. I cannot say it will be a pleasant farewell

from the nesting, but you have wings for a reason.

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