Several Altitudes of Not Talking

You are part of other people but not
like them. You live in a little wooden box
and wake up with your face
in your palm and some sunlight.
Which is a sign of resignation but not
for you. Which is part of what I meant
by trying to effect change
in myself and also talking. By describing
to you that before a city can become
spectacular its buildings must put on
an iron gown. And then some workers
climb all around it. And it is like having
no teeth because you are waiting
for better teeth. I tell you I am very attached
to my old teeth. In a game called all of this
is hypothetical I did not once slide
my teeth across the table. I do not
even remember what you offered
as the hypothetical exchange for a life
where I only drink soup. There were
some girls on their bikes
and wind. There were some people
reuniting after many years apart or just
a day. You were not like everyone else
making demands with wild
gesticulations. I thought about maybe
trying to sharpen my knowledge
of jokes. I thought about really
needing a hug. A very important car
with sirens rumbled by and sounded
exactly right.

Wendy Xu, "Several Altitudes of Not Talking" from You Are Not Dead. Copyright © 2013 by Wendy Xu.  Reprinted by permission of Cleveland State University Press Poetry Center.
Source: You Are Not Dead (Cleveland State University Press Poetry Center, 2013)
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