Anita Ngai, "Inferno"
Emotions towards one’s parents are often difficult to disentangle and even just surface up. The moment one person is no longer on equal plane with the others because of abuse, manipulation, victimization, or other forms of power exertion, the stable shape of the parent-child triangle gets toppled over; however, the three legs of that triangle remains tied even when it loses shape. So the compressed and metaphorical nature of poetry seemed to be the right and only way to make a crack into those emotions. But even that was not enough for me to articulate the magnitude nor the shape of those emotions. They finally took a slightly clearer form after I found the simplest story one could tell: a well-known fable. Because The Boy who Cried Wolf is a straight forward and familiar tale, it served well as a tool to disarm my consciousness and logical mind, and reveal a bit of the unconscious feelings. That glimpse below the surface made me realize that there is a fire of feelings burning underneath. So I see this piece as a first opening into those emotions towards my parents’ relationship, and I hope to continue to find conduits that will allow me to unearth them further.
Anita Ngai was born in Hong Kong, grew up in Vancouver, Canada, and went to school on the east coast of the US. Her writing has appeared in Figroot Press, Talking River, Imprint, and Lit Crawl, as well as various architecture magazines. She was trained as a structural engineer, has worked as a management consultant with McKinsey, marketing executive at Expedia and TripAdvisor, and is currently a business executive in a fast growing technology start-up.