September 26, 2010 - Leave a Response

Who could possibly be reading the seahorse kingdom?

This week, which is now last week, I am/was:

stressing over poem revisions

running nowhere in a glass room

having Disney princess dolls launched at my head

making birthday preparations

reading and loving Sputnik Sweetheart

learning new songs (darn that F#m chord and my small hands)


a postcard

July 23, 2010 - Leave a Response

The little white house on the hill

sits engulfed in thick grey smoke

brushing the edges of the white

paneling as it floats up & up.

Inside, a tiny old woman stands

at the front window wrapped in

a blue satin blanket. She is

brown and wrinkled, and her

white hair is tied back in a bun.

She does not see well anymore.

Rescue workers have evacuated

every house on the hill except

this one. The old woman hid

in the attic when the firefighters

came to her door – she knew

they would make her leave.

She has watched the smoke travel

up the hill to her house and beyond

and believes it is fog, the marine

layer that has not burnt off.

Yesterday, she lied to her sister

in China, muttering into the telephone

that there would be no room for her

in the little white house

once she arrived in San Francisco.

Today, feeling her guilt, she knows

that the fog brings with it her

great ancestors from China,

who come to warn the woman

against unsisterly behavior.

The fog smoke rises to the top

of the hillside.

The old woman stands at her

front window and waits.

Penny en el escenario

May 29, 2010 - Leave a Response

Anoche fue Penny

en el escenario,

el mismo pelo largo y recto,

ojos azules apagados,

con un vestido

con un fondo de pantalla

de la lámpara y

cascabeles en los tobillos.

Ella iba y venía por el escenario

con la cabeza baja,

con poco entusiasmo

pulsar una Tamborine

contra la palma de su mano.

Ella dijo que estaba tan triste

que esta era su última noche

en Los Angeles.

“Hace frío de donde soy,” ella dijo.

Yo quería decirle que

hace frío aquí, también.

Pero sólo en la noche.

Excuse me, sir…

March 19, 2010 - Leave a Response

This is not a poem,

March 15, 2010 - One Response

but a complaint. For Christmas, my dear mother gave me a book I’d been wanting since I heard about it on NPR: Best of Contemporary Mexican Fiction. The cover is beautiful, and I like all the stories so far, but I have to be very careful when I read it because none of the signatures inside the book have been sewn in. Can you believe that? The pages at the spine have perforations where it seems like the stitching would be, but there is none, and every time I open the book widely, a group of pages slips out. I want to send an email to the publishers (Dalkey Archive) saying HELLO, you forgot to finish making this book, and now I can’t read it outside on windy days!

An old poem. Hoping it will inspire me to write something new.

February 19, 2010 - Leave a Response

Water Dog

A letter from a stranger.
“You’re a water dog,”
it says. Welcome to
your new home,
where the water is
dry and the air is not
there. Your tongue is mostly
sweet, but sometimes sharp,
and you are stubborn
and eccentric. And
though you have
no say in the matter,
it is a truth beyond
your grasp and larger
than your small body
that you will always
feel the black shadow
beneath the light
on the water.

Eunjeong at night

October 22, 2009 - Leave a Response

driving us through
the trees, scattered piles
of leaves on the wet road,
the car jerking
as she brakes for squirrels,
and then a deer.
No, just a shadow.
Her hand on my back
guiding me to our cushioned
seats, now her hand
over mine as she prays in
English for my safety and,
though she doesn’t quite know
the words to say it,
I feel it in her hand –
a comfortable transition
into my new life. I listen
to the short and quick
words from the man in
the front of the octagonal
room, and Eunjeong
whispers translations
into my ear the best
she can, waving her hand
in circles when she can’t
find the words, as if
beckoning them to appear
on their own. After, she parades
me around like
her newborn baby.
“New housemate.
From California,” she tells them,
and the older ladies in
little suits and quilted handbags
bow and laugh with friendly
eyes and one points to the top
of my head and they all laugh
together. I touch my head
and smile and pretend I am in
on the joke. Another hand
on my back scoots me
toward the line for soup,
clear broth with beef and
chopped onion, which I sip
out of a Styrofoam cup.

On the drive home, I stare
out the window into
the darkness of the trees.
Eunjeong points to the moon.
“So beautiful,” she says,
and our teeth shine
in the moonlight.