of missing home
Bibingka, puto, polvoron, and turon—desserts that speak my stories of home onto your tongue, dear guest. I offer you a taste of my language: vowels round with rice flour and syllables rolled into delicate rice paper and dripping with sweet coconut milk. Can you hear the open-mouthed laughter of my grandmother, my mother, and I, our foreheads dotted with sweat, baking in our dirty kitchen? Or does my home grow slowly nameless in your mouth? Where words once were, the flavors of my people now
flow, set free from the fruit’s flesh—are you amazed? You who dare to say “banana” without knowing the sweetness that first condenses, thickens, and then, in consuming grows awake, transparent, sunny, earthly, alive—like the harana, a lover’s song exchanged at open windows. Dear guest, sitting at this table, unknowingly pulling a chair up to my home.
Michelle Lim is a poet and an aspiring novelist. She has a novel forthcoming, and one day hopes to open her own independent publishing house. When she’s not frightening strangers with her enthusiasm for Lumberjanes and Broad City, she’s most likely frightening her fiancé and their growing collection of dead plants.