Noodles in Gong Guan With Godfather

for POD


It is time for another bowl, my stomach says,

and my eyes agree in low baritone, whispering

to Godfather, who says we must wait patiently.


She sits at the counter, the cook, the mother,

the owner of things, to see if our bowls are empty,

and they are, empty and wiped clean with air


sifting around our obedience, and she comes

over with more to eat.  This is my favorite place,

Godfather says, the man who gave me my name


like wind or air, kind and deep face of a man

who rides his bike through the campus, gliding

under palm trees to beat the way summer claims


your skin here this close to the equator,

or to where things are equal.  Here my mother

has come to be Chinese with me, still brown


the way she brought me to life, all thick

with the juice of living inside her without air.

It is real or zhen de 真的 the true, genuine


way my family assembles in a place foreign

but familiar, my chopsticks working my fingers

so quickly people ask where I learned to eat.


I learned in a city of pain, the bricks baked

red and hard in some secret place in heaven.


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