One Child Has Brown Eyes

Marilyn Chin
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

More by Marilyn Chin

Quiet the Dog, Tether the Pony

        A lament for Don (1958-2011)

Gaze     gaze      beyond the vermilion door

Leaf      leaf       tremble    fall

Stare blankly      at the the road's      interminable end



Reduplications     cold      cold     mountains

Long     long    valleys          broad    broad     waters

Tears     are exhausted      now    shed    blood



Deep    deep     the baleful courtyards     who knows how deep

Folds on folds       of curtains

Gates         trap        infinite      twilight



Walk     walk        through     waning meadows

Steep     steep        toward       ten-thousand Buddhas

Knuckles     blue     on the balustrade



In the land of      missing      pronouns

Sun     is a     continuous     performance

And we      my lover      are      nothing

from Two Inch Fables

Yellow gold is meaningless
Learning is better than pearls
A woman without brilliance
Leaves nothing but dim children
 
You can hawk your gold if you’re hungry
Sell your mule when you’re desperate
What can you do with so many poems
Sprouting dead hairs in an empty coffin
 
*

Lotus: pink     dewlapped     pretty
Lotus: upturned palm of my dead mother
Lotus:  a foot       a broken arch
Lotus:  plop      and a silent     ripple
 
*
 
I hum and stroll
And contemplate a poem
While young boys are dying
In West Darfur
 
I hum and stroll
And contemplate a poem
While young boys are dying
In West Darfur

Peony

Why must I tell you this story, O little one
You’re just a bud-of-a-girl, who knows nothing

Now you are full-faced, bright as sun
Now you open your skirts pink, layered, brazen

Suffering is alchemy, change is God
Now you droop your head, heavy with rust

Sit, contemplate, what did Buddha say?
Old age, sickness, death, no one owns eternity            

Detach, detach, look away from the sun
Let your petals fall aimlessly                 

Don’t despair, little one, we are done
 

Related Poems

[Girl]  [Eyes]  [Foreigner]

A circle of young: vicious.
A circle of young: smells like sugar.
A circle of young: why such organization?
                              Around what? Around how?
 

And into the circle is assimilation.
Meaning:
 

The girl with blue eyes is a foreigner.
 

Xenophobic is a fawning.
It smells delicious, of lavender and his mother:
He slept with her. So as to understand false pieties
and false ambitions and false greed.
 

The girl with blue eyes is a situation of assimilation.
 

As if the advertisements were getting the better of her.
No, no, not a drink, a Coca-Cola.
Pronunciation various according to location.
 

The girl with blue eyes is a vixen.
 

The foreigner approaches the game.
The game is (pretend it is a game)
          too hard.
 

She is not of this place
 

Round One:
What is old and smells of the attic?
What is young and smells of the collaborator?
 

The smell of sugar is high in the wind.
As if a dying sugar cane had dispersed itself.
As if the dying nation needed to profit
from its youth.
 

Blue eyes. Such luxury.
Her mother must have had beautiful ideas
to make her that way.
We haven’t seen it for years. Centuries.
Before the ice and the concept of the ice.


Before the end of material difference.


The blank with blank eyes is a blank.
 

And think of what you know to be true:
Her eyes are not blue unless blue has its own currency.
So why do they persist? Why do they do it to us?
 

Vampires.
Cannibals.
Strangers.                            Make them stop.