A Pair of Sneakers from Far Away
Like the sky that shines
because of dawn,
because of a pair of sneakers
wrapped in a package
sent from longing.
They have flown
across several oceans.
Along a boulevard
far from where I learned to walk,
I gallop and dance with these shoes
the hands of yearning have touched.
I come to a beach, gathering clouds
high above. Clutching my knees, I take
in a big lungful of life. It is
at this time my sneakers speak:
Shoes, others can give you.
Roads, you still have to run
with your own legs.
They sound familiar, like a voice
separated by borders and pursuit
At home, after settling the shoes
on a little shrine in the middle
of the shoe rack, I stand
in the shower, thinking of a gentleness
distance has kept away.
Near the window I sit,
air-drying my hair.
Outside, the last family of autumn rains
is running down, migrating.
I’m lucky enough to say
goodbye to every drop of them.
Asking the Mid-Autumn Moon out on a Date
I see a beautiful night coming.
A cloudless night with an all-consoling breeze
for the exile that you are.
I wonder if you would like
to come with me. I’ll bring
laughter, I’ll carry truths.
I’ll keep watch on selfishness.
I know you are on duty every night.
I know you have a timeless work ethic.
And I know you sacrifice much for humanity.
Maybe you will let me touch your hands.
Maybe you won’t mind a beast in your bed.
It would be nice if you could get back to me earlier
so I could reserve a table on the patio
for you to see
the stars, no, the world, in a different light.
You can say you aren’t interested.
I’ll feel disappointed for a little. But
it’s understandable if you don’t come.
You’re too important for a Mid-Autumn.
Whatever you decide,
soon it will be Friday.
Two Chestnut Trees
Outside the window of my grandparents’ house
were two chestnut trees in the distance. My family
used to say they were lovers who didn’t need a priest
or a marriage certificate. The people of my community,
or tree guardians as they were known, said the two
had long blessed us with their grace, well before
the founding of our nation. As a child
I couldn’t care less. All I wanted was get close to
the boy I liked when we played hide-and-seek. But
I must admit below those old trees I had my first kiss,
with someone I didn’t really like. Sometimes, Mother
would sit by the window staring out at those fatties, a name
I called them with, whenever Father came home from
the local pub with a smell of anguish in his breath. He
would in turn sit among the chestnuts when he wanted time alone.
I did none of these. The only thing I was good for
was sabotage or, should I say, sculpture. I would poke them,
kick them, carve skins out of them. One time, I burned them.
It was fun, especially when I could hear them sizzle. Another time,
conspiring with that ancient season of light breeze and ambiguity, I put
a spell of decay on their golden leaves, hurrying them to the gates
of death. Around that time, our neighbors around the park staged
a blockade to protect the two lazy bums, another name I gave them
for not moving while the world around them did. We joined the neighbors.
I was dragged along. Saw it down, saw it down, I chanted,
as the adults, eyes closed, sang praises for the two greatest idlers.
Yesterday, Grandmother told me over the phone the spirits of our town
had gone. Where they had been now stood a sign of redevelopment.
I couldn’t say why. But, after she hung up, and just as I turned to
look beyond my office window, where I could see the great human
civilizations I had been a part of, I wondered if the two nutty lovers
had left behind any children I might help take care of.