Chinatown East

Keep holding me like this and help me untie my birth language my first language steeped in bruises, knotted up in a child’s still body petrified with fear words thrown at me alcoholic bodies raging into me embedded like ceramic shards all around my little heart me, so small and already convinced my home felt like captivity .  . . .

Cough and Brume

My son is late. A few nurses have passed by my room since he called this morning, and a little while ago a shady white apron holding a folder and a pen stood still as I opened my eyes: another one of those modern healers, levitating at the edge of my sheet, checking off boxes on a piece of paper, assessing charts and tonsils before sending me back home . . .

Commissioners Avenue, Analysis Is the Poorer Half of Unknowing

And he, Larry, could see for a moment Molly’s Diner where he’d eaten the last time they’d turned him out of 54 Division with his jacket and wallet on its rigged up chain and no laces in his runners so he’d had to curl his toes into bird’s claws to keep his shoes from dropping off his feet as he walked while holding the left side of his body gingerly, a little impacted at the waist, so breathing had been a little easier if he kept to shallow breaths and looked up out of one eye to see which way was Molly’s . . .

Ming Mei’s Year

At the beginning of spring, our family visits the cemetery. “Qing Ming is the time when Chinese families pay their respects to the ancestors in the spirit world,” Mama explains. When we arrive at the graveyard, my cousin Calvin and I dash ahead of the grown-ups . . .