In Shi Lin Night Market With My Lover

These are ribbons flapping around us, bright ribbons,

every color, some that she has to tell me because I am

blind to color at the worst times, buying socks or guessing

what she is feeling when her face turns from pale yellow

to disappointment, to fear, wound in the streams of fabric

that give darkness light…

we count the windows that count us…

until there is nothing to see, and we sink down into the white

napkins on the backs of the seats, the tiny televisions next

to the driver.

I am Chinese in the mirror

Chinese is an endless space in time

where Chinese is what I cannot


In one window among the thousands I see the faces

of the uncle who betrayed me, the done thing that made

me a child inside a man, stuck in the claws of incest,

in the one window, the way to a scream that jacks open

my mouth but holds sound hostage, the dry tears of silence

like veins cut open where no blood dares flow, this currency

that paid for my tickets, led me in suspension to fly into

the future and live here a day ahead of what happened

to me when I was too young to know treason.

I am Chinese in the mirror

Chinese is an endless space in time–

I have come here to be what I cannot be.

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