You confused me at first.
Constantly. Frustatingly.

I was lost.

I didn’t know if I wanted to stay.
I’d walk the streets
Just watching
ayi’s sitting on pavements selling vegetables and shoes,

and clothes racks extending
out of windows and over
the streets like colourful
flags waving in the wind

I couldn’t communicate much beyond
Dui bu qi, wo ting bu dong, I’m sorry, I don’t understand.
I’d be reminded Every day,
as my feet walked through your veins,

Foreignness surrounds

The ayi on my floor always smiled,
She was always friendly,
but our conversations were abrupt,
zao an, chi fan, hao chi, mi fan
Good morning, meal, delicious, rice
she could never understand my accent
so I never found out her name.

Into the subway I’d file,
commuters packed in, arms by our sides,
waiting to flow out into our destination,
your blood rapidly moving.

But when it wasn’t crowded,
little kids, with round pink cheeks
smiled and waved at me,
and an ayi insistited that I
took the empty seat
smiling as she pushed me
toward it.

Your temples,
beautiful, intricate, ancient
with large open courtyards
and incense smoke rising
in wispy trails,
a serenity cadenced
by tall shiny skyscrapers.

Like the buds that bloomed in Spring
and took over the bare branches,
smothered in fog so grey,
I came to like you
And I’ve come to miss you.
But now I guess,