In Shanghai, she bought me a fist-sized bamboo cage with a cricket inside. She said it sang only when it was lonely. I hung it up in my bedroom, next to the bed still embroidered with her shadow. At night, the cricket kept knitting its noise. Her hair was long when I loved her & short when she left. One day I woke up & my grandmother was in the kitchen frying the cricket in a peppered pan & I thought it was better that way, for the cricket to be swallowed & carried inside a body so that it would never know lonely.

The Dead Girl's Room

“Though I knew she must sometimes have felt the way I did — had laid in the same bedroom feeling awful for sleeping too late, procrastinating, cutting corners — in her death she had, it seemed, become perfect.”


Violence was a family tradition. My father, his father, his father’s father.


Oh, that’s where my parents used to—Grandma cuts off her sentence, spins around and starts again, climbing the stairs towards us. “That’s where my parents put me during storms.”