My grandmother has one good leg, and one good eye, but it’s the stiff straight leg, the glass eye, that I notice. I notice these things, and I want to look, I want to stare, but I don’t. Just like I don’t ask her, say, Amah, what happened to your leg, and what happened to your eye, what has happened in your life? Instead, I sit with her in the courtyard. We stare silent at the street, waiting for neighbors to come, and they do. The whole village walks out to see me; to ask the American Girl, has she eaten, will she come to their house? The whole village comes, and then we’re alone again. My grandmother reaches for my hand. Her fingers are very brown against mine. Do you remember, she says. When you were small, you told me, Amah, I’m afraid of your eye? I do remember. And I remember, too, my grandmother taking the eye from her face, and giving it to me to hold, so I could know it was glass. Your Amah is old now, she says. I’m like a drunk ghost. I can’t even walk straight. I don’t answer, just grip her hand. We watch the afternoon fade into evening, the last of the farmers come in from the fields, the dark settle on the earth, the moon rise in the sky. And, all this time, mosquitoes bite at our skin, unable to taste the difference between us.

Katherine Lien Chariott has published work in literary magazines including Antietam Review, Columbia, disOrient, Sonora Review and The MacGuffin. She has fiction forthcoming in Hunger Mountainand Bayou. She received her MFA from Cornell University; most recently she was a Schaeffer Fellow in fiction at UNLV. She lives in Shanghai.