Because I dare not be in awe
Because I dare not be in awe, I am made
of lead, of wood. I see the scratches of light
in the black night but carry them in some
hollow; the woods of myself. I am made
of lead, of wood, heaviest when reaching
out to the sill of myself. I carry the buds
in some hollow. The woods of myself
have wet floors, darkening seeds. I’m heaviest
when reaching out—outside myself, beside
myself, bark that clings. Wet floors darken
seeds. I pulled the floor out from the bottom
of my foot. Beside myself, bark clings, wrought
from a deeper, flaming hollow. Will I flee?
Am I the woods; the woods, me?
From what are you separated?
My chiropractor tells me, your sternum is shining, meaning that the small bones in my chest are rotating, overlapping, and moving away from one another—a snared zipper. He places the pads of his fingers beneath my collar bone, willing them.
I should love the revolution, but the revolution killed my grandfather’s father. He was just a rich man who smoked opium, read the stars, and arranged marriages, they say, who was brought to his knees by his own village.
His sister was paraded through town with a wooden sign around her neck. She knelt in the center for hours. The sign was hung with a metal wire; it slowly sank until her skin parted and bared the bone in the back of her neck.
Oh, I love you, Ling Ling, the man on the street said to me.
I’ve said it before: I don’t know where I am.
Bitterness is the Chinese Root of Emotional Hurt
A toiling an astringent lowness
A labored misery. My love used to
Bloom overnight, the streets wide
Enough for me to walk down. Life
A bloody toe or two. Easy. But I’ve been
Making my mother’s bitter
Melon: halved, hollowed out,
Sautéed with garlic, salt, the eyes of
Fermented black beans opening
To me from the pan. It’s not
Sugar I crave, but an ache that
Still makes the tongue water.
A sadness held in the mouth. Is this
Savor my ceaseless condition? If so, I’m
Sick with it. Pull out my molars.
Make of me a simpler O.