Steam Rising


april Lim

Honey lemon myrtle tea brings

my mother’s home remedy boiled

from ginger and lemongrass and old rau thơm

(because the fresh ones are for eating) and

citrus fruit set out to ferment in

tightly screwed sunbaking jars lying

dormant in our backyard, collected over the years

for days just like this,

but on days just like this, I am far from home and

far from remedies grown within me—

Slathering in Vicks isn’t quite the same as

koah kshal down my back until the

tiger marks yowl

sharper than my pain and

set aside the

soothe of relief;

Wasted rain drops as

rain buckets fall on empty ears and water collects in

pools of sidewalk potholes where the birds


so maybe it’s not as bad as seeing

it waste away and

sink into bodies that reject it like

the devil to my mother’s mother—

Somehow sins cancel out when the proceeds

proceed to temples and monks who

know nothing of her wrongdoings

and bless her new until

he cannot grasp the

last years of her life she

never deserved.

About the author:

April Lim is a Chinese Cambodian American poet from Houston, TX. She graduated with a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Houston where her poetry received the Howard Moss Prize in Poetry, the Bryan Lawrence Prize in Poetry, Lauren Berry Scholarship in Poetry, and Honorable Mention for the Provost Prize for Creative Writing in Poetry. She now works full-time as a Technical Editor for an IT company. Her work has been published in The Blueshift Journal, Glass Mountain Literary Magazine, and the Mekong Review.