Spring Summer Autumn Winter

by Chen Chen

I pushed my face toward
the sleeping radiator. I smelled a form
of justice. I wanted to be a poet. I waved
my living hands, dead
coupons. I watched him brush
his teeth. His teeth glinted
gorgeous. I stumbled.
Cartwheeled. I said, I will always fight
alongside you in the fight
against tartar build-up. I said, I will.
I said, Thank God without believing
in thanks. I thought what my parents did,
those weren’t poems. I believed
what white people said about my parents.
I had to say, Stop.
Stop believing them.
I suckled. Pickled. Made mistakes
about octopi. Wore a blue jockstrap
& took pictures. Accepted stickers of astounded
apples from friends. I was a wind
smooching another wind, who had
very good teeth. I was a name
everyone in America thought they were saying
right. Even he thought so.
Then asked, Is that right?
I pushed my face toward the noisy radiator.
Its clang & labor & here.
In bed I touched his voice
in his belly. I touched his Goodnight. He said it always
like it was important.
It was important. I believed in
the silver millennium. I said, Sailor Neptune,
one day, a poem for you.
I said, Sailor Neptune, teach me the Deep
Submerge, the Submarine Reflection, the thunderously
turquoise hair. I was a name
in America & would forget I belonged
to my teeth.
I dropped a single wish down the cavernous
mailbox. He would ask,
Is that right? He would bring
a single microwaved donut on a blue napkin at dusk.
He would leave me alone
with my poems. O
if I could lick all your toes at once. I would
write that poem. I loved him,
I told him. I loved him,
so told him about the dream.
The dream starred my parents, stars
of a death metal band’s
debut music video. They danced
like everyone was watching. It was important. Their arms
were poems. They said, So what
if we misspell “auditorium”, so fucking what –
we’ll always say
your name right.
They pushed their faces toward me.
Their poems toward me.
They leapt & thrashed, they were stars,
stars, stars.
I woke up weeping. Do you understand?
I thought I could only fall asleep
doing that.