poem: no need for translation

16 Dec

no need for translation

across the alley
from the Fortune Cookie factory
in a Chinese store
filled with trinkets and common
household items
spatulas and incense holders
large bowls
and golden coin banks shaped like cats
an old man watches me

there are two aisles
barely enough room for two people
to share
a smiles blankly at me
mutters a curse in Mandarin
or, perhaps, Cantonese
the old man shushes her

i cannot tell if he is smiling
or frowning
his eyes remain neutral
three young women enter the store
giggles and laughs
the old man watches me
sneak a indelicate glance
he smiles
his eyes delight

outside i catch a smoke
wait on my girlfriend
who caught my glance as well
laughed as well
shook her head
you are too old
but knock yourself out

back across the alley I sit in a chair
the kind you had in grade school
another old Chinese man sits on my left
the old Chinese man from the store comes outside
sits to my right
we sit there smoking
the old Chinese men trade a brief conversation
i understand the fingers
the pointing
the laughter

i laugh as well
what can you do?

young Chinese women in tight jeans
and low blouses walk by

three old men pause
smoke lingers in the air
they pass by
three old men sneak indelicate glances
it begins to sprinkle
in Chinatown


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