Volume 28, Number 1

Final Review Before Termination

The child’s first mother
hunches in her chair
through a Khmer interpreter
to his new mother
white as mi
describe the litany of woes
that diminish her baby's life:

the remaining length of his colon,
the many times a day
he is expected
to defecate
every day
for the rest of his life;
the long list of foods
he cannot eat—

A word in English
catches her attention
and her concern
blooms in the space
that had been all
but empty of her.

Through the interpreter
she asks,
What can he eat
if he can’t
eat rice?

What can he eat
if he can't
eat rice?

—J.A. Field