Mama kneads the dough, dips
her fingers into the cloud as if,
each time, they fade, then reappear.
I drop a ball into her palm.
She rolls, then squashes it, palms flat,
forming a perfect circle.
She hums that Chinese lullaby —
the story of Mouse feet tapping,
then the thump of Lion’s heavy paw.
Plop the mix of ground pork,
spinach, scallions, soy sauce
in the middle of each circle.
Fold the edges over, crimp
one side in a graceful two-finger ballet
until a white quarter moons appears.
Lion lifts Mouse, brown eyes
hungry. Bring water to boil,
slide each dumpling in.
They’re ready when they rise
to the top. Scoop the slippery
half moons into white porcelain.
Lion pours spicy sauce over Mouse,
swallows in a single gulp. Good,
Mama says, smiling.
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