tremors vs. quivering

by 伊凌 yi ling

in my left ear,  the clang of pots as 二姨 preps dinner.  the melody of some old Taiwanese song, a sad auntie epic, streams over the stone floors and cool concrete.  the singer’s sweetness and the symphonic violins soften the cold of winter.

in my right ear,  birds chirp on the mountain.  the ground is resting after a weekend of clanging around. we’re prepping for a refurbishing of the house. yesterday, i learned where the needles were in this house when sent to find them to remove XiaoXiao’s splinter from the yard work.

rooting is difficult.  rooting is beautiful.



feeling cement has always been devastating, but it’s never felt as punctuated as when i returned to taiwan (what do we call our waters and islands?) this time.  cement irked me as i walked about taipei.  i grieved the runoff of the silt onto the roads and into the puddles outside of the rainy taipei main station.


my aunt said i have submerged a seed within that needs to be cultivated.  like the monks who tell me to water my roots well. being home, i feel so present to the disturbances that were daily life in the u.s. in nyc, friends and i would often discuss how we were reduced to numbness or quivering for intimacy.

auntie continues: “you won’t find freedom in business.  i come from a merchant’s family.  you’ll always be chasing customer’s needs, their whims, ever changing yourself.  there’s something about a school that’s much more freeing.  set the curriculum, the classroom.  be loving to your students.”

and she reminds me to stay out of the shadows of my parents.  that seems almost everywhere.

do i go south? or do i find a direction of my own?