Read in any order

Someday again, I’ll find the wrong person with basketball shoes and a soft beard, with a foolish heart, the one who bottles up everything inside.

I was told that the people we lose become stars in the sky, and that it’s bad to waste food or keep it overnight.

In the dream, I am now wearing a body suit of silver sequins that look like shards of the sun. And the sun waits to melt the thick ice cream despite its heat. Before we know it, the tub of ice cream that was between us transforms to a teal blue ocean and one of us disappears. This is how I want to lose you—softly, with ease.

An enlarged left ventricle is one of the most serious types of enlarged heart. It can result in organ failure.

My grandma made me my first knee-length dress—aqua blue in crochet and a satin liner to go with it. I wore it to my friend’s birthday party. My grandma crocheted her way out of old age and chest pain. She made table covers, placemats, coin zippers, sweaters, and cross body bags, in pastel colors—flesh tint, peach, lemon green, and pearl white. She stitched even when cancer ate her heart.

I wore a long plait and we had just gotten into your car after a sweaty game of basketball. You turned on the radio and the song filled the car. I heard you sing for the first time—You’re my cornerstone… you’re my headstart, you’re my rugged heart…We sat in your car, singing loudly with closed windows and full blown a/c. I melted when our eyes met and the sky wiped out the sun.

I dream of an ice cream machine in the backyard of our house surrounded by lush pine and sweet maple trees. The sun crosses over the ocean-like sky and the ice cream machine glistens. It has every possible flavor—truffle chocolate, raspberry, piña colada. We are standing right there, from where this whole thing looks like a scene in a movie; with a tub of truffle chocolate in our hands. We make swirls in the tub with our pointer fingers and raise the wet fingers like they are stars in the sky.

I don’t remember my grandma ever having black hair. I have a blue paper rocket that grandma and I had made together. I had written down things on the folded sides of the rocket, things I wanted to buy for when we’d go to the supermarket that evening.

My grandma died in her sleep. We took till the next day to realize that she was gone. The refrigerator was full of food kept overnight. I still have all her colored wool balls, her crochet kit, my aqua blue dress from when I was in grade 3.

Someday again, I’ll find the wrong person who plays basketball and doesn’t foul or carry while dribbling. But right now, time is running out. I have stopped keeping a clock or wearing a watch. I’m in another city, in the same state, we have a body of water separating us and endless clouds bursting from a rain-fed sky and time lengthens distance or it’s the other way round because the wrong person is a big part of my life.

You have an enlarged left ventricle. Your heart is incapable of regularly pumping blood. It can fail anytime.

Things I wanted, written on the creased paper rocket:
Melody, a whole packet—I’d take two to school each day—a packet of orange colored Lays, cream puffs, khari biscuits, Boomer because they had tattoos on the wrappers, a shuttlecock, Maggi noodles, malai kulfi from the kulfi-wala-bhaiya who’d come by in the afternoon

My cheeks could tear, I smiled too much. I took my shoes out and crammed myself to the window seat of your car. Next thing I knew, my feet were in your lap and you made tiny circles on my toes. Our dried sweat, my messy hair coming out of the plait; the loss of our last game was all insignificant.

A giraffe has three hearts; one lopsided with the left ventricle being thicker than the right so as to get the blood up the giraffe’s long neck to reach its brain.

Hot Spring Ghost Story

My father, Yongli, told me this story, but I think he left some things out.

Quarter Juice

I shoved the lacy bra I kept under my mattress deep into my backpack, sandwiched between my Sequential II textbook and my ancient shared copy of The Iliad, and decided it was time to white out “Brisma + Kelly 4ever” on my Jansport.

The Sound Eats You Whole

Most of them had specific requests: They asked me to pretend to be the people they missed or wanted to be.