do you want to know
which child is the best?

she teased in Khmer

yeah, sure, which one?
I responded noncommittally

each one is good
in their own way

she continued to tease

then she began recounting
how her second daughter
was always so brave
how her third daughter
was always so thoughtful

and the fourth daughter
sat there soaking in
stories of sisters lost
before she was born