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AP Chinese Language and Culture: Free Response Spoken

You will have a conversation with your mother, sitting in between hot-white slats of ladled sunlight, about coming-of-age.

Interpersonal Speaking, Prompt 1: [... You’re leaving for college soon. Will you stay in California? How do you like California? How do you like the life, half-throbbing & half-over that I dug out of my girl-woman-abdomen to give you? … ]

I like, the heat like another layer, like to my skin: like not

in the like, air around me but like an intimate organ stuck,

sizzling and like, half-molted. chain-link fences like, spearing open

the ripe like, underbelly of a sky that apologizes like, my mother– I said

like, Sacramento summer like a form of love-bombing, like, shimmering asphalt

& scorching affections. like, mosquito bites mottled plum-purple like bruises.

like, tiger’s balm searing red-hot like week-old blisters. like, our hands

swelling with like, brine-sour sweat or late August tears. like,

how painful is it anyways, in the lens-flare, like, blaze of your love?

Interpersonal Speaking, Prompt 2: [... When did you decide to flee? How have you decided to vacate the empty static corners of this town, gravel-worn roads & fields of calloused fingers? How did I leave you, clutching and toneless, in the year of your departure? …]

That winter, the headlights across the crosswalk pulsed like a midwife’s heartbeat,

slow and steady. She’s crazy, my mother said, fuming in tandem

with the smoke billowing from our 2004 Honda Accord fuel pipe. What a bitch,

I said, What a bitch. My mother laughed; a trembling helpless sound, a shotgun wedding

to a country that will never know her body as a newborn thing. Gasoline-slick maroon

smear of lipstick across my mouth. The chapped trapped cracked visages of my mother’s

lips. Smoking trails of bitter gunpowder down both our guts, but the bullet caught between her teeth. How the viewer could define our roles only by the driver & the driven, the chaser & the chased. The throes of a language a daughter forgets

is a fumbled form of violence. That weekend before September scraped