Made of Marrow

Grace Ker | Art by Julia Xu

At the entrance, a blue-and-white dragon stood 

bigger than a person.

Jade stones shaped like peaches illuminated the night, 

and waiters wore sleek black suits, white vests, and gleaming shoes. 

Away from the hospital’s white walls and the 



of a burdened room, 

I held Grandpa’s hand 

as we trailed a waiter to the dining room 

where shiny red walls, glossy columns, and golden lamps 

turned the place into Old Taiwan.

Eyes with crinkles like pastry sheets, 

Grandpa gestured for me

to sit on a polished wooden chair,

fragile champagne glasses set up just for us

and fresh flower napkins on plates. 

Wise long beard, soft hands like dough, 

Grandpa began to tell me a story about hope.

I knew enough to place the napkin 

on my lap. I could almost taste the baked buns and tofu pudding. 

Just then, Grandpa was king, 

and I was royalty.

His soothing voice turned my pullover gown into an elegant flowing dress,

my wristband into a golden bracelet,

My hospital bed into a velvet throne with jewel trim.

With the menu in my quivering hands,

my eyes glided over Chinese characters I didn’t know.

Traditional lanterns floated overhead

and through the veranda, I could almost see the breeze.

Plates full of fare arrived,

a feast of braised pork rice, fried fish cakes, oyster noodle soup, starfruit, and 

bone marrow, the essence of life.

To Life, 

we cheered, and I imagined my own marrow 


To Life, 

and with grandpa, I became a princess in Taiwan.