Lost in Translation

An old leather suitcase with scuff marks from planes, trains, automobiles
A gradient of nurses' scrubs starting at white and ending in cartoon characters against pastel backgrounds
Letters written in a language that tastes like sea salt and sounds like a storm after a drought 
Balikbayan boxes stuffed to the bursting with the spoils of the new world 
An ancient weight scale used to ensure the delivery man is being fair with his prices
Yellow legal paper and cursive inked by an amateur's hand
The form of a mother, just off from work, slumped over a table before the television, snoring 
The form of a child placing a blanket on her mother's shoulders
Telephone calls then silence
Silence then telephone calls
Pancit on Styrofoam plates
A broken lamp once wielded like a sword
A plastic oar used to shoo away rats
An expensive living room set turned into a bed for an overworked mother
Discarded Newport cigarettes in the outside garbage bin
A tear stained blanket
A diploma wrapped up in plastic
Muffled voices on landlines
Muffled voices on cell phones
The warmth of a hug
The smell of a sister's hair 
The way she drove her car around
Motown on the radio
Burnt rice at the bottom of a sauce pot 

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