Sonnet with particles of gold

Today scientists discovered the origins of gold:
the sound of egg noodles crisping up in the wok,
the garden carpeted in kōwhai petals,
the way my phone corrects raumati (summer) to rainstorm.
The day after my grandmother died was white-gold in colour.
A star explodes and wings are found among the debris
along with pieces of a character I never memorised—
our only name for her, 婆, a woman 女 beneath a wave 波.
“Drift,” she mouths softly in English, “what is drift?”
My mother translates into her language, not one of mine.
I try to make myself remember by writing 婆 over and over
on squares of paper covering the walls so I am surrounded
by the women and the water radicals they hold close.
The tips of waves touch me in my sleep.

From Magnolia 木蘭. Shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection 2020. Reproduced with kind permission from Nine Arches Press.

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