we sat across the table

the back of my legs stuck to the plastic

that covered the seats of her dining room


all of the ingredients laid perfectly arranged

on the lazy susan, waiting to be


at six, my time had come to be written in

on the lou family secret- how to wrap the

perfect wonton

in silence, amma showed me how to

nourish myself and the ones i love for the

generations to come

just like her amma probably did for her

her pale and wrinkled hands caressed the

dough and perfectly portioned the meat

dotted egg to bind

pinched edges and folded with care

bended quickly but not to tear the delicate


she made it look effortless

as i followed her steps

i fumbled

i furrowed my brows

bit my lips

grumbled with frustration

my tiny little wonton was a pile of mush

she looked at me and simply said “again.”

“again. again. again.”

that day i made all of five wontons for our

meal while amma made a bounty

but what i didn’t know then

was that amma had persevered

she had fought and been silenced her

whole life

she had made wontons in a restaurant that

she owned

she struggled and had immigrated

men cat called her

called her their china doll

she had been scared and alone

did she ever fight back

did she ever say something to their sexist

and sinophobic remarks

and although her work seemed effortless

it was a culmination of her many years of


her guidance from ancestors

love and nourishment



i have white hairs now

i’m getting wrinkles and i’m getting rounder

i’m walking like my amma more and more

each day

each time i make wontons, it’s becoming

more like muscle memory

i can feel amma with me each time i make


“again,” she says.

“again. again. again.”

heather c. lou is a racially ambiguous Asian womxn in their 30s. They are laying on their stomach on a wooden table with their legs crossed. They are smiling and leaning their head against their crossed arms. They have long purple hair and are wearing a red knit cap, oversized black hexagon-shaped glasses, a septum ring and nose ring, black boots, black pants, black shirt, and a leopard print cardigan sweater. Part of a tattoo is visible on their left arm.

heather c. lou (she/her/hers) is an angry gemini earth dragon, multiracial, asian, queer, cisgender, gender expansive, disabled, survivor/surviving, anxious, and depressed womxn of color artist and educator based in st. paul, minnesota, which is the hxstorical occupied land of the Dakota and Ojibwe peoples. find out more about hclou at: hclouart.com or Instagram @hclou

This is a playfully rendered digital drawing of 16 dumplings displayed in a square grid against a solid bright red background. Some of the dumplings feature a stuffed, folded square wonton wrapper in the shape of a triangle, and others are the finished dumpling with the corners folded together. The dumplings are drawn using contour lines and rendered with pops of yellow, blue, purple, pink, and orange.
heather c. lou, dumplings reprise, 2021, digital art, 12” x 12”.