on tai shan (or, how i ate too many choco pies):
i write my chinese name on every page,
but it is fake —
my surname made bai (白)
as a joke upon my skin.
for my first he named me kanglin (康琳)
(healthy jade), yet another
approximation of my being,
until i grew into the ring of it,
my voice pitched higher and higher,
singing tones like a song
until i could no longer hear him.
i write my chinese name and won’t forget —
but he has, so some have said that maybe
so should i.
not so, i argue, for where would the dreams
of bai kanglin dwell —
forged in the smog-laden streets
or on tai shan, looking east
when, she decided, that it
no longer mattered?