Sept/Oct 2022 • Vol. XLIV No. 5 Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize |

For My Father, Who Lives Alone

Runner-up2022 Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers The Kenyon Review · "For My Father, Who Lives Alone" by Madison Xu Baba turns fifty alone / in the 6 x 8 box / of our iPad 3 / September on our breaths / seven years coming now / funny how memory / has a way of nebulizing / the hum of radio static / the way you learned English by listening to the Beatles’ / “Hey Jude” on repeat / now white noise / at age ten / we were two continents / sundered by ocean / no more than arbitrary geography / at age ten / I held dawn like a permission / tasted it skin by skin / a mouthful of you to be swallowed / back then when you visited / I took a tweezer to your hair / the kind of ebony / the way mine is now / back then / there were daily FaceTime calls / updates on my growth spurt / about your colleagues / those assholes / new Mandarin proverbs / xiang yi wei ming / mutual dependence for life / our shared vocabulary / an inheritance guaranteed / by blood I didn’t know /

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Photo of Madison Xu
Madison Xu is a student at Horace Mann School in New York City. She has been recognized by the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Apprentice Writers, and The New York Times. In her free time, she likes to read, ski, and bake.

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