by Angelina Wu

audio: read by the author

In Chinese,
we have an old saying:
It means blood is thicker than water.
So I wonder,
Is this why you love me?
Is this why you research the best date for me to take the SAT?
Is this why you buy me cheesecake, every year, without fail, on my sacred birthday,
even though I forget yours?
You say that my brother does not need to study Chinese culture in university
(it is flowing through his veins),
that there is no reason to know the specifics behind dumpling making;
(he would be better off taking a computer science class,
or graduating early,
because that will help you make a living).
But 妈妈,
I want to be your child.
I want to be someone you can love,
even without considering our shared blood.
So let me ask for your stories in China.
Let me listen to you describe your travels.
Let me learn how to be an honorable daughter.
I don’t know why you love me.
I’m not aware of the science behind a mother’s love for her child;
biology was my hardest subject last year.
I fight with you all the time, 妈妈;
I offer you little to no support;

I don’t do chores;
we are the furthest from friends.
Our relationship is so strained, 妈妈,
and yet you still remember to put my sweater in the basket to wash.
I’m sorry I cannot relate to you.
I’m sorry you feel alone.
I’m sorry I cannot be there for you.
I wish you would say sorry as well.
I promise I will try harder.
I promise I will learn the language you gave me.
I promise I will be able to tell you
that even as we navigate this strange world with such vastly different perspectives,
you are not alone in these strange lands,
so please don’t see me as foreign, too.
You will never read this,
because writing is a frivolous activity
that I cannot make a living with.
I can cry all I want while writing this,
But what good does it do?
I’m only submitting it in case colleges appreciate it.
(thank you blog.prepscholar for the idea)
But 妈妈,
If I am like my brothers,
if I attend the most elite universities,
won’t that make you proud?
Won’t that make me worthy?
Won’t that make you love me?
I hope it does,

Because I am not sure how else I can prove
that I am worthy of your blood.


I am a junior who likes to listen to music and go on bike rides.

Do you write sporadically or regularly?

Sporadically. I have like three random bursts of inspiration a year and write something.

What is your ideal writing environment?

Late at night on my bed with music playing from my speaker

What message do you hope to convey to the reader through your piece?

There’s no message. You can think anything you want about it.

Black Heart, a sculpture by Carla Ramirez