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
or west
when, she decided, that it
no longer mattered?

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