Anna Qu is a Chinese American writer. Her work has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Lumina, Kartika Review, Kweli Journal, Vol. 1 Brooklyn and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Brooklyn. Follow her on Twitter at @quillingit and Instagram at @annaqu. Find out more at annaqu.com.
The 7 train flooded with natural light as we emerged from underground, and Long Island City’s graffitied rooftops, prewar buildings and brick warehouses come into view. The commute from school to my parents’ garment factory in Queens was a 25-minute bus ride, a transfer and then another 35 minutes on the subway. After stepping off the packed train, I walked down a sidewalk lined with abandoned warehouses, their windows cloudy, cracked and boarded up with pieces of plywood. Unmarked trucks and vans passed once in a while.