I think about her cheeks at night. Silhouette of her profile projected on my ceiling. How when she smiles there are two U-shaped shadows on either side of her face. How when she doesn’t the fat melts into her cheekbones. How in her childhood she scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed with bleach. “You’re like porcelain,” someone once told her, and I had to cross my fingers to keep from tapping her ceramic face. See if the clink of my nail could crumble her. When she cries, something breaks open in me. Like the wolf swallowed another stone. Or small melon. Or coconut. Or egg. Holding life within a thin shell. How can someone so fragile carry something so heavy? I ask her to lay down her burden. Break open a coconut, unblock her pores. I bite down on white cheeks. See what catches in my teeth.
Cassandra Hsiao is an undergraduate at Yale University, majoring in Theater Studies and Ethnicity, Race & Migration. Her poetry, fiction and memoirs have been recognized by Arts by the People, Rambutan Literary, Animal, Claremont Review, Jet Fuel Review, and National YoungArts Foundation. Her plays have been produced around the nation through playwriting competitions held by The Blank Theatre, Writopia Labs, Princeton University, Durango Arts Center, California Playwrights Project and YouthPLAYS. She's also a big Marvel Cinematic Universe fan and firmly believes magic exists everywhere—you just need to know where to look.