My mom, she was a breadwinner in our time in Australia
She would take the Pakenham road
To a plant nursery – where she was a lab manager
She would buy Queensland bananas and pineapples
At the Dandenong Market
And order phytohormones from Sigma Life Sciences
All to grow a cell-mass called a callus
From where shoots rise as new plants

And just like that callus
We were multiplying our connections
As we sneaked out of our ghettoes at night
And made new friendships
And we too were proliferating in knowledge at day
Seeming a B.Sc. (Hons) and even a Ph.D.
Was our calli for a life of migrant dreams
Where shoots form and elongate
Hoping to bear golden wattles and macadamia nuts one day

And my mother, washed our clothes
And hung them on the lines, washing with time
She was wrinkling slowly – like a papaw
Getting black spots and shrink-lines
Yet she knew our futures were ours for the making
And she toiled seemingly long days and longer nights
Doing the washing after dinner
Or saying the rosary when everyone was asleep

And our migrant dreams were
An alien species – like wild cinnamon – tamed
By a culture different to ours
And with time our quills would be pealed
And we would possess vanilla skin
As homogeneous as a melting point
And only hetero in memory’s hold
Where our colorful pasts were swallowed
By our swelled-up tomorrows – like wild cinnamon
Domesticated to be what we were not

And my mother toiled day after day and night by night
In a sweat shop called migration, doing hard labor
For minimum wage – to nourish our migrant dreams

And she was only culpable – only guilty
Of squirting out love
Through her weary breasts