September 4, 2012

Jack Vian

LIKE AN AMERICAN PRINCESS

Rubbing the Buddha’s
Golden Belly in a Chinese
Restaurant, the pig-tailed
Girl claps her hands and drops
The flimsy fortune, already
As forgotten as the cookie
Crumbs her father brushed
From her cheek with the calloused
Thumb of a busman’s
Hard-earned holiday,
And then she skips
Out the strip mall door
And into the blaring light
Of another blazing, migrant sun.

And all is right, he thinks,
And ever will be. But how
Could he ever know
How often she would remember
How often he forgot
To smile.

from Rattle #36, Winter 2011
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