THE HEART'S TRAFFIC: Ching-In Chen
Three poems from The Heart's Traffic follow. To read more poems from the book, please visit Ching-In Chen's website: www.chinginchen.com. Please note, in some cases, the exact formatting of the poems has been modified to accommodate a web-based format.
To open, to follow, to mirror, to face, to bind (chest), to examine, to pull over (shirt), to button, to spiral, to cook an egg, to toast, to counsel (confusion), to visit (mom), to back (shit), to chicken (out), to (buck) assign, to live, to pass (out), to fist, to girlfriend (early) to come (out) (you'll always be) mine
Xiaomei's First Heartbreak
Gone the clanging midnight door, perpetual raised voice.
Xiaomei wakes in the dew, the traffic of her heart missing.
Her father did not say goodbye. Or he visited her, a stealth-owl dream.
Either way, her memory does not
appear at the short wooden door or trail her through the full streets like the older boys in the
Her mother does not cry, but continues.
quick to schoolbag
onto the noise of street.
He disappeared into the black hole of America, an odd
place with beer-drinking, restaurant-opening aunties and cousins
who like cereal.
No letter arrives.
bright shocking talismen blinking smog windows ice cream factory ginger girls dying weeds
compressed in red ornamental silk plastic fried menu gold gaud animal discharge golden tofu
stink smoking boys by gray fruit peeling river dirty-white-smock man giving you lonely eye
fisheye steaming silver cart with 10,000-feet smell the tall the pale with laminated Lonely
Planet maps the mouths the flapping mouths
- ascension into that airless hole
multi picket lingual signs
furred gray women at coffee hour with neon worker compensation flyers
home of the living mice and the tailor's nest
drain drain drain
the janitor and the bullhorns in storage
the dust the dust the dusthawkers
how your lips open in flight