Although I should have rejoiced the beauty of the language, for 36 chapters
my tongue was cloaked in a chenille robe the color of an apple jolly rancher.
The metaphors, similes, and transitions clearly upstage my own.
I’m in second grade, standing in a pool of urine before the curtain parts,
and the audience sees yellow stains on white stockings, propping
a petite girl laden from carrying her smile in an itchy velvet dress.
I feel rough, rudimentary, uncouth, even my name punches in the middle,
like a featherweight jabbing at the only vantage point she’s tall enough to see.
It’s spewed out in a breathless burst opposed to rolling through the lips, enduring,
clipping centuries, like Maya Angelou, Sylvia Plathe, or Abigail Keegan,
names fit to be corked and thrown out to sea, only to wash up generations later
in a sand dusted girl who’s found the bottle lodged among the polyps of the reef.
How illogical to assume a name has anything to do with the polish of a voice.
Without a western word it exists in me this kiasu of the east.
Publish or perish, catch the snitch, climb the rungs, second place is the first loser,
gold is better, find the clover, seize the goose and pocket her egg, have it served
poached, swimming under hollandaise, nestled next to ham and honeydew,
strawberries, croissants, potato croquettes, and oranges squeezed into Baccarat.
Finish it off with a porcelain cup bulging around a candied Kenyan belly.
Shovel it in. Gulp it down. Quick, before the desert conquers the mirage.
Editor's Note: The formatting of the website doesn't allow us to display the poem the way the writer intended.