the things she carried
I remember what my mother told me
when I was eight years old.
One day, we decided to exchange
a Super Nintendo console for the
one that came with the Donkey Kong game.
In the Zellers parking lot,
she gave me the box to carry.
I walked with that box in my tiny hands —
my mother by my side.
The box grew heavier with each step.
And the closer we got to the electronics section,
the heavier it became.
Meh, I said,
(‘Meh’ is Lao for mom)
Meh, I said, can you carry it for me?
I gave her my most helpless look.
She looked at me then and said,
(‘Da deep’ means ‘little eyes’)
you’re just afraid.
And yes, I suppose I was.
We walked up to the Zellers employee —
a shaggy-haired fella
who stood behind the counter
organizing double A batteries.
My mother stood by my side, wordless.
She didn’t speak English that well,
but even at eight, I knew that language
would never be a barrier for her.
I want to get the one with Donkey Kong, I whispered.
Afterwards, we walked outside to the car.
The sky was this purple and pink colour —
the same sky I’d paint in my art class years later.
I held the new system in my hands —
this one included the game.
I played Donkey Kong all summer long,
and if you were wondering,
I can lift that console quite easily now.