fridays i love the nonslip footstuff,
pure hubbub, bulk-bought then trucked
from pigeon-stacked catalogues, whose
dorsals do make gravel tones sluice
down the miniature foyer of my maury
street childhood home. each distinct starry
carload of cousins, my brother’s ostinato,
three post-ambling, scramble from toyota,
crash through the door in running monologue.
now, chao’s village kith doff off their dogs:
kin's greaves blackblasted, gummed-out discounted
clompers, cloved by sole meuniere, now frowned
upon her loafers pinched as elephant leather. nearish
midnight, the mystery whiff of cheap liquorice
& steeped beef in nut grease. cabbage, that babylon
of napa abluted underfoot black seasoning, black season
when my uncle, his visa goes undone, un-childrens
him weeping in sheer sheets my bodybuilder brother ivan
(russian name reclaimed from c-drama series)
wears no jordans, has cornrows desires destiny
as mutable. he’s cute the one that girls want
& it’s reciprocal, illicit beyond touch. my aunt
cries salt, the salted earth sheds dust, the dusted moon.
human hooves journey in warm circular rooms.
dishwasher surge creases his preteen face, steamed,
my other brother (happiness) never learns to read.
half supported, tad orphaned we sprung our tough roughage.
i bore bark and bunion fruited my inscrutable rage.
those lang syne light-ups bygone & violet aglet
twist in absentia. zodiac, sadness saddles the small kid’s
soul. animal smells cradle these days reversed.
the late patter of heaven labors on plain earth.
Copyright © 2021 by Wo Chan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 5, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.