Everything

I am the type to go to bed with my feet dirty


A man calling from a balcony is not to be trusted


In 1988, the nation sings a song I can’t understand but I sing it 
because everyone looks at me like a thief and no one likes a thief


Algae gather in plastic cups along the Jersey Shore


The dull prongs of a fork still count as a weapon


I gather plastic cups along the shore and shake them out to use for tea, juice, a home for my toothbrush


The pledge of allegiance is a building ledge, an alleged crime, a leg crossed over another leg, a plea gone askew, a glance shared in a room with someone else who looks like you


Hundreds of toxic wild boars are roaming across northern Japan and it would be a mistake to identify with them


In 1960, my grandmother holds no knife in no tall wheat


When washing her feet, my grandmother tells me she spent decades without shoes, wonders if the mud misses her


When we look at each other, we also look away, knowingly


I am a good daughter and I can repeat this indefinitely without 
taking a breath


Often, I call out to myself just to hear an echo, to hear something moving in the walls like a healthy family of rats


My mother has been told, repeatedly: “You cannot walk here”


Here is a white stone, a white fence, a white seagull, a white jug of milk, a white candle, a white duvet, a white patio, a white bar of soap to wash your mouth out


Sometimes I dream in Cantonese and I have no idea what is being said


You grow to love what you create, pouring out of your mouth


In 1988, my father sees his reflection in the rearview mirror and identifies with the blood moon lighting his way to Atlantic City


From a balcony, a man yells at me: “You need some white dick” and I turn into a boar


我 在 广 东 做 梦


My father disappears for weeks and my mother keeps weeding the garden, pulling cigarettes from the splintering tomatoes I will devour


I study asymptotes for months and dream in curves — almost but never touching


My mother writes in her English diary for night school: “I hate him I hate him I hate him I hate him I” and her ESL teacher only gives her a check, so I give her a check plus


To be a good daughter means to carry everything with you at all times, the luggage of the past lifted to the mouth


When we look at each other, my mother laughs like an overripe tomato on a windowsill


In 1989, I spent months assembling a puzzle map of the United States of America and the teacher said, “Good job, Jane” and then louder and slower like a drowning sloth: “Gooooood jooooob, Jane” and I did not touch a single piece


Bloody drunk and a blood moon, my father fights with another gambler and jabs at his arm with a dull fork and they both laugh celestially


你 是 一 只 美 丽 的 野 猪


During elementary school, I did not say a single word, not even when called on, and thus the teachers and administrators 
decided I could not speak English because they looked at me


Mao Zedong explains math: “In geometry, I just drew a picture of an egg — that was enough geometry for me”


My grandfather was jailed by the Red Army sometime between 1966 and 1976 and my mother says: “I saw him cry when I tried to visit. He wanted to eat the bao I made for him”


Algae gather, gleaming like jewels, on the head of my 5th grade betta fish


Counterrevolutionaries during the Cultural Revolution are likened to “finding a bone inside an egg”


I was born, healthy, in the year of the rat


The man on the balcony invests in a foldable set of two chairs and one table in eggshell white — mold resistant, perfect for outdoor use


你 不 敢 看 我


I was ten when I willed a rock to fall off a ledge, just by staring at it long enough