Festival of Mid-Autumn Moon

 By Chiu-yi Rachel Ngai, 16, Arkansas.
 Lanterns bloom like flowers, the light and colour of crowded city streets. 
 Folded paper, a slinky of patterns,
 Dancing as the candle flame flickers a pattern silhouette. 
 There are plastic lanterns these days, thick and rubbery with a strange smell,
 Lit up with a mini LED bulb. 
 They come in all shapes and sizes, pop culture and cartoon designs.
 Mickey Mouse, Power Rangers, Doraemon. 
 I remember my cousin had an Elsa once, a matching pair with her Anna-toting sister. 
 We met with mooncakes under a full moon,
 Lotus paste sticky sweet, salted egg yolk seawater respite. 
 Our ancestors looked up at the same moon, and now we stand in their light— 
 A product of their mistakes and triumphs.  
 We stand tall, a proud new generation, 
 Eager to take on the world outside our Hong Kong,
 Not knowing how much our bubble would change in the years that watched us grow. 
  
 I was fourteen when I left on a fifteen hour flight to the United States, 
 Creating a half-globe’s distance within my heart. 
 I write this at sixteen, a full lifetime for so many before me, a full lifetime for still too many. 
 Arkansas is American Southern, dry and green and different and not a bad place to be— 
 And yet I remain a daughter of the Asian East— 
 My bones do not feel like they belong. 
  
 I sat under the ever-present moon last Mid-Autumn, my second in the States,
 Eating mooncakes gifted by my art teacher, the only other Chinese person I know in the area. 
 I look up to the sky, to the stars my cousins do not see, the stars drowned by neon light—
 I look up to the sky, to the moon my family looked at thirteen hours ago, the moon my ancestors saw a woman’s story in.
 The moon keeps me close to home.  

By Chiu-yi Rachel Ngai, 16, Arkansas. She adds: "I grew up in the bustling streets of Hong Kong. I moved to the U.S.
when I was fourteen in order to get a better education. I am fluent in English and Cantonese. I can understand Mandarin/ 
Putonghua better than I can speak it. I am working on overcoming my internalized racism towards myself for being Chinese, 
and I decided to submit to Skipping Stones as part of my journey towards accepting myself and finding pride and 
joy in my cultural identity."

Leave a Reply