Header image  
    Table of Contents
Ching-In Chen


You listen to that ivory man hunched,
clutching the peach, a knobbed stick in the other hand.
He knocks on doors to sell Encyclopedia Brittanica sets.
Seated on the rounded stool, he remarks on the green lily pads, mossy, and the pink lily, faded and peeping from between his legs.  You do not mention it serves as sentry because a blue eye, the Turkish charm for protection, and all its sisters and spawn fix on him. He passed the opaque pane and the broad wooden door blocking all enemies. He expects. Where the gray stitching builds The Wall, the snake breathes and lengthens. Melting to humps, the towers fold into another stair to ascend. Squinting transforms the camels in the foreground to the black dancing lines of your youth. You, the building dweller, procure the black laquered trays. They fit each other well. You caress the ribbed beige
handle as you set the three layers in front of him.
Smooth like black rivers disrupted by maroon
anemones and the white ashy leaves, four
would bring bad luck.
You lift the top layer.
The second layer, empty.
The third contains watermelon seeds.