Lunar New Year

by Jennifer Nguyen

                    after Portrait of the Alcoholic by Kaveh Akbar

Tết commences
mother aggressively scrubbing, sweeping, and
setting out the vase of fake yellow apricot blossoms.
Be on your best behavior 
because a sour start
leads to a year of bad luck.
This can guide us forward or not guide us at all.
Because you think
luck is phony.
this is one instance 
where generations clash.
Today, you’re finding problems in areas where you didn’t have areas before.
You try to find small comforts 
folded and stuffed in lì xì.
Stuck in East-West flux –
is there a vocabulary for this?
Thinking if it had a name it would have a solution.