The mother nestled in her favorite spot,
The build-in wooden bench by the nurses’ station,
For comfort, three thin dining room chair pillows.
Two daughters by her side, attentive, serious,
Grey roots showing amidst their dyed hair;
Above them, my red paper decorations,
In front of them, little food containers and paper bags
Covering the mother’s walker.
I smile: “Happy New Year!
How nice of you to take your mother out yesterday.
Did you have a big family meal?
-Yes, we gathered at our brother’s house.
Today our mother is sad.
She wants to go home.”
Small tears roll down the mother’s full and tanned cheeks.
One daughter catches them tenderly with a folded tissue.
I stand on the other side,
Lightly tapping my palm against the mother’s back.
Our eyes meet.
She turns towards one daughter.
She says a few Cantonese words.
The daughter pulls out a mandarin.
“Our mother wants you to have it. She loves you very much.
-Thank you. This will bring me luck.”