I Tell My Mother About My Depression
by Eric Tran
She is ashamed of my seasickness,
her son, bled down from boat people.
We are kidding, of course: between waves
and prayers to Mercy, she swore
her child would never know
the damp of hunger in his bones.
She wanted him fat like clay
and just as soft. In college, I lost
ten pounds of myself and half
the words she sang to me as a baby.
The aunties cooed my new frame
but she was silent, both of us famished
for the words we meant. I say
I’m sad from sun to sun
and her response is a crisp
twenty for the quiet burger joint
we visited when I was young
and never talked, or didn’t need
words, our mouths and bellies
singing the same full rhythm.