Chen Chen

Issue 13 • April 2014

For Lin


As the snow falls, I hear again 
my father shoveling our old car 
out of the snow, as the snow kept 
falling, almost eighteen 
years ago. Though I am far 
from the year now, the town, I 
hear & love—loud—the eager, 
young sound of the shovel, 
right next to the gray, gray car 
coughing awake. & I love my father 
his arms & hands, the many small 
frenzied sounds of his joints 
bending, muscles 
lifting. I love my mother, 
who had witnessed only TV snow 
before this country, climbing 
into the car—the brave sound 
of her black boots. I love her watching 
& hearing my father snap 
icicles off the car roof. Her ears 
taking in that incredible crunch 
& break, forever. I love my mother 
yelling at my father to hurry, 
love him hurrying (carefully), 
love the old car trying its best 
to keep us warm, love my mother 
her shouting & cursing 
& laughing, her two immense lungs 
& three languages, as the snow—
ceaselessly. I hear & love again 
her whole body beginning to do 
what it did once for me. 
& little me tagging along, 
my sleepy giddiness as I waited 
with my father, soon to truly be 
our father. & mother, our mother. 
I hear & love again 
that January night of blizzard 
& blessing, all six & a half 
beautiful pounds, breathing, 
breathing. I hear & love 
you, Brother, as the snow falls 
& falls, then & now, 
in your voice.