Face Blindness

They look at the photo and agree that’s dad in the class photo of Ip Man, Wing Chun master.

I look at the face and cannot say it looks like him to me.

My brother asked his forensics detective coworker to look at the face.

Mom thinks it’s him too, he says proudly.

My mother often watches game shows and says look it looks like (insert neighbor) and I look up to see some not-even-ballpark bone structure.

What was my father’s face like when he left his country?

What was his face like when, alone, he made the pork and peas, washed socks.

This wretched neighborhood, when I say hi to white people on the street they don’t say hi back. Chinese either.

Who has mastered this face, no sweeping lashes, just one naked thought after another.

The young people I think I smile at in a dark crowd who walk away as if my face said, You’re standing in my way move along.

I’d dress as Robert Smith or The Crow in high school and friends would say, But you look normal that way.

I mention my Han melancholy and you murmur, No, Grandpa told Uncle DiDi we’re Mongolian, I thought you knew?

You who had permission to deck any lump on the bus, who got asked later, Are you okay?

I walk down the street feeling overly safe, I dgaf and want to magic you my extra.

But my face fails me with a weak best, what friends know as “powered-
down mode.”

What in the world is she thinking is what I sometimes ask myself, says a colleague about this face.

What I partly see, what partly disappears in the mirror.

More Poems by Cynthia Arrieu-King