Four Poems | Lydia Tai

Aspirations of the Ages

One day, I’ll turn six years old. I’ll have grown so big that I can climb a mountain. I won’t fall off my bike, or be afraid of monsters under my bed.

One day, I’ll turn ten, and at school I’ll be the first to write cursive fluently.

One day, I’ll turn twelve, and I’ll be the first girl in my school to hit puberty, and grow breasts the size of watermelons.

One day, I’ll turn fifteen, and all the boys at school will lust after me. One day, I’ll turn eighteen, and every college I’ll apply for will be begging for my admission.

One day, I’ll turn twenty-three, and I swear to God I’ll be the only one of my friends not living in my parent’s house. One day, I’ll turn twenty-six, and I’ll finally have a real job. One day I’ll turn twenty-eight, and l’ll have gotten married.

One day, I’ll turn thirty, I’ll have kids, and they won’t be like the snot-nosed kids I see on the streets and in restaurants. One day, I’ll turn thirty-five, and I’ll live in my dream house, one I’ve poured over real estate websites and consulted with the loftiest of real estate agents.

One day I’ll turn forty, and with my investments and hard work I’ll be filthy rich. One day, I’ll turn fifty, and I’ll be the only one I know who won’t have a midlife crisis. One day, I’ll turn sixty, and my kids will have turned from bean sprouts to having my grandkids.

One day, I’ll turn seventy, and I’ll be the only one I know who isn’t sick or see the signs of aging fully realized.

One day, when I turn eighty, I’ll look back on my life, and I won’t fear death, it will be the next great adventure.

I dream of a day where I run free, and climb mountains, and never fall off my bike, and the monsters under my bed have been dead for decades, invisible, nonexistent, a figment of my imagination which have drifted away.

One day, when I turn ninety, I’ll look back on a life I was proud of.

One day, when I’m dead, I’ll look down from the clouds and smile, or be stagnant in the dirt.

Yet one day an old man told me, “I too once sought after the aspirations of the ages. Then came a time where I no longer strived for the life I was sold when I was young. I derived from life my own meaning, for gold and glitter are always over yonder. When I’m in the stars or in the dirt, I’ll know that when time was of essence, it was of mine.”

I’m six, and I fell off my bike today, yet I remember what the old man told me.

Lightning

 

Thunderstorm

They struck us down two at a time

Just like the animals which came on the Ark

They’ll play a familiar song that will traumatize us in a moment

Taking me and you down with it

A time, I visualize

I was sitting in your car

And you asked to change the song

Hinting, moreover

Without actually asking

Til Nicole switches the song

Annoyed at your indirectness

“It’s not my fault, I’m happy

Don’t call me crazy, I’m happy,” the song coos

Your mother decided not to drive you to the hospital

Even though you were blue in the face

Overdose on Fentanyl, heroin, and Xanax

It’s not my fault, I sent the police to do a wellness check on you

And your mother turned them away

I’m alive, I swear it

I’m alive, and last I heard, you are too

I hope none of us forget the times

We danced by your pool at midnight during the summer

When we felt our very being alight

Diving in the cool, seeping water

Electric, I utter

The static that thrusts into the sky

Jolt me into the present

Old friends, seep away into the oceans and lakes of the world

Memories dissipate like sparks dwindling in the air

Electricity, lightning striking me down when I hear that one song

When we all felt awake and alive

Slumber

Dreams, suspended in air

My late grandmother, with all of my family in the garage

Cloaked in white

All of us

She turns to me in a cryptic haze and tells me

In English, because I don’t know the words she would have used

That in her native tongue, Mandarin

“This is my last gift to you”

And takes a picture of us all together

The next day, my boyfriend accidentally knocks over my pictures

I have hanging on the wall on fairy lights

The picture of me, with my family and late grandparents

Among the pile on the floor

I dust it off

And place it carefully on the fridge door

Dreams, suspended in mysterious ways

My late grandmother, always a stylish woman

Who wore red lipstick to her weekly trip to the grocery store

And had long, razor sharp crimson nails I remember as a child

In my sleep I envision a scenario where I have two lipsticks

One vastly expensive, the other not so much

My grandmother eagerly asks to borrow the luxurious lipstick I possess

The next morning I receive a package I’d ordered in the mail

A dark crimson lipstick

I recount the dream as a visitor hands me the package from my doorstep

She remarks,

“She’s watching over you”

Dreams, whisked away

Six months since my grandmother has passed

Next to my grandfather, who passed just days after

Once a week my grandmother visits me in dreams

And appears to me in the morning

This hits me like a rock falling from a cliff

My grandmother who I yearn to see again

But not in dreams, yes till I see her in the next life

Vagabond of the Moon

“You have asthma so you really shouldn’t be smoking”

I know, I know.

I’m a rambunctious irresponsible ruffian and I’m constantly shamed.

Maybe if they shame me enough, I’ll listen

(I’ll listen)

Maybe if the tides change

Maybe if the planet gets cooler

Maybe if I fill a void

An addiction

I should listen, I know.

Maybe the asthma attack combined with the anxiety attack I experienced this morning

Will shake me, do not break me

Mother Mary, Gandhi, Allah, Yahweh

Prophets of the many

Jesus saves me

Only for me to debase myself

I am an explorer, a vagabond

Maybe if I listen to the moon

I open all the windows and let the wind engulf me

I am a hedonist, a person trying to take control.

Whoosh

Whoosh

I take a deep breath and throw out the cigarettes

My father is concerned I’m wasting money, I’ll go back to it in a week

Valid concerns

I’ll let the new wave of self-care try to overtake me

Wandering on this crooked path to freedom from myself

Photo by Raychel Sanner on Unsplash

Bio:

Lydia Tai has been published at Big City Lit, Anti-Heroin Chic, Creative Drive Podcast, and forthcoming at Boston Accent Lit. She is a twenty-eight year old Taiwanese-American female who advocates for mental health awareness. She lives in Framingham, Massachusetts.

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