Thursday, September 20, 2007

Incomplete Italy

Exercise 25

I miss the feeling of my furry dog
lying beside me at night. His push
against my side as I curl and twist
to reposition in a half-conscious slumber,
heating me at the areas he touches.
His barking and midnight song even
linger in my mind. I chase him
through bushes five times his height.

I miss the salty breeze at the beach house,
pelicans that fly against the wind,
crabs bought fresh from the dock, and running at
a flock of oblivious seagulls.
Walking along the shore with waves
erasing my footprints, my eyes focus downwards,
constantly in search for unbroken sand dollars.
Crunch crunch crunch.
The dried crab shells shatter under my shoe.
I imagine watching the sun set along
the coastline semi-hidden by stubborn clouds.

I miss art. Picking up a paintbrush to
show what I see. I spend late nights
speckling my hands with a rainbow of
stray marker marks, whiffs of cedar while
sharpening my pencils, unconsciously
covering myself with eraser dust,
and going cross eyed at three forty-two.

Most of all, I miss my mother.
She cooks Chinese cuisine, including
homemade dumplings. I roll their wrappings
until my front is covered in white powder
handprints. My mouth waters thinking of the
anything-you-can-find-in-the-fridge stir fry,
stuffed spring onion pancakes, red bean pastries,
and of course, rice, fried rice, brown rice, congee,
and rice pudding. I love how we expand
our stomachs after each meal.
I see her level of attentiveness
in her eyes. They glaze over in a fake
let-me-smile-to-please-you manner. Our
crazy mishmash of Mandarin and
English twirls into jibberish sentences.
Our sides split from laughing. Our eyes puff from
crying. In public we use that look, that
says, “I know we’re thinking the same thing.”
When I look at my refection, I see
her eyes and smile masked in my face.
I am going home soon.

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