One child has brown eyes, one has blue One slanted, another rounded One so nearsighted he squints internal One had her extra epicanthic folds removed One downcast, one couldn't be bothered One roams the heavens for a perfect answer One transfixed like a dead doe, a convex mirror One shines double-edged like a poisoned dagger Understand their vision, understand their blindness Understand their vacuity, understand their mirth
The Floral Apron
The woman wore a floral apron around her neck,
that woman from my mother’s village
with a sharp cleaver in her hand.
She said, “What shall we cook tonight?
Perhaps these six tiny squid
lined up so perfectly on the block?”
She wiped her hand on the apron,
pierced the blade into the first.
There was no resistance,
no blood, only cartilage
soft as a child’s nose. A last
iota of ink made us wince.
Suddenly, the aroma of ginger and scallion fogged our senses,
and we absolved her for that moment’s barbarism.
Then, she, an elder of the tribe,
without formal headdress, without elegance,
deigned to teach the younger
about the Asian plight.
And although we have traveled far
we would never forget that primal lesson
—on patience, courage, forbearance,
on how to love squid despite squid,
how to honor the village, the tribe,
that floral apron.