Showing posts from August, 2015

Resonance Observed

“Papa bought me a magic bowl! It can make water dance. It has dragons on. Look, Mama!” I was six. The bowl held me enthralled - far more enthralled than the return of my father from his voyage. He showed me on the atlas where he had been, drew little pictures of the ship in which he had travelled. But I wanted to know how the bowl worked, where its magic came from. “From China,” my father replied, indicating the embroidered silk he had bought my mother, complete with strange-looking people on it. I kept the bowl, and my childish wish to understand its magic grew over the years. As an only child, I benefited unusually from the education a brother would have had. But my father rued the instruction in natural philosophy I received. It encouraged my fascination with how the world worked - and the apparent magic behind my bowl. I was not a beautiful girl, nor sociable, and combined with long hours in libraries and laboratories, my father worried that I would become unmarriageable.


Mei Lien was going to the opening night of the first Greyhound dog racing event in Shanghai. She wore a long yellow silk dress and her maid helped her into her shoes. Her husband was a banker and they had two daughters. The girls wore tight fitting dresses in pale green silk with a blossom pattern, high heels and their hair loose at the back. “Welcome to the grand opening of Luna Park”, Major McBain said as they entered the private suite. He had introduced Greyhound racing to Shanghai and was their host of the night. Mei Lien was presented with a silk fan with a map of the grounds printed on it, and her daughters were given silk handkerchiefs. The sisters linked arms and walked quickly towards the sound of Jazz. It was a warm, balmy night and the opening fireworks lit up the track which was designed as a Chinese garden, with trees, grass and a rockery. In the first race, her husband placed large bets on two dogs called “Merry Sinner” and “Merry Go Round”.  He

The Bloodied Bowl

I am a worthless speck. My actions have no meaning. Sleep is transitory, and I have grown accustomed to the sharp pain of a starved body. I am as fragile as mom’s favorite ceramic bowl. On the rustic wooden hutch, it sits in glory. Holding potpourri within its smooth walls, the dead flowers safe, secure. Oh tragedy! If it were to be smashed —thousands of miniscule pieces. My shattered being – a shadow – a prized bowl. I am not on a pedestal, nothing more than that bowl. But everyone tells me, “You’re good enough.” They don’t know how it feels, to feel nothing at all. To waste space, breathe precious oxygen. Happiness scoffs at my misery, sadness scorns me for dwelling in it. I am hollow, but that ceramic bowl is full. It holds the remnants of life, beauty in a deathly domain. Perhaps that is how my contribution will be acknowledged — in Death’s deep, dark folds. The bowl is in my hands. It slips. Falls. Bleeds upon the tile.