SONNET VII: GRANDFATHER'S ORANGES
Grandfather pays his respects with oranges:
if an orange once ruled the world,
oranges now rule the home shrine,
the stacking of fresh bought every week.
Honoring our ancestors with incense,
Grandfather takes out a golden snake sculpture
from his case of gold and glassware,
tells me it looks too scary, too fierce—
I stare, smell the incense across the room.
He has a Da Vinci The Last Supper
hidden away. He knows I love real art.
This isn’t Chinatown from the movies,
but this is beauty, the oranges all neat,
Florida’s Best sticker still stuck on them.
SONNET XXVI: WHAT TO BUY IN A HK METRO STATION
In the station of the bustling metro,
I’d tell you to buy a fresh mango cake,
the one where the slices are petals,
forming a mango flower atop cream,
but they’re probably already out.
But why not buy a Mont Blanc or a fruit tart
or a cake in the shape of a bunny instead?
Buy some magazines at the Circle K:
a tabloid, porno manga, Vogue Japan,
then throw in an English candy bar.
Try on polos at the Giordano shop,
grab a guava juice and red bean bun,
then use your remaining coins at the umbrella
vending machines. It’s already raining.
GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS, DANCING ON TABLES, EATING OCTOPUS
I never want to relive that Spring Break
when the bartender at the tiki bar
wanted to do bodyshots off me. Lifting me
in his tipsy state, he asked if I’d prefer
Pink Pussy or Purple Hooter or Kamikaze
or plain and simple tequila, lime in my mouth,
salt rim of my belly, but I remember getting off
the bar, pushing him away, then ordering
a Scorpion Bowl all for myself, because
leave a lady alone. What is with this fixation
of women on tables, like in Japanese fetish film
when businessmen eat sushi off Asian beauties
who are lying in the nude on the dining table,
leaves covering their breasts, nigiri on top of leaves.
CEO feeds one of the models an octopus,
thinking he’s doing her a favor
when she’s got a burger waiting for her in the fridge.
Or what about when women are lifted
on the tops of pianos, one leg in the air,
seducing the man who can no longer find Middle C,
play a little can-can, she’ll lift that leg higher,
seduce him, scare him he’s frozen.
But girls girls girls can get on tables without a man,
bartop dancing in their hot pink terrycloth minis
in the early years of the millennium,
sipping on Vodka Sodas because no one has time
for extra calories, or the next act
of beautiful bartenders in their short shorts,
bringing out cold beers, squirting the hose
at customers who disgust them, men whose fat
fingers grab bills, thinking it’ll buy them
more than a Happy Hour special. And the girls
squirt that hose again, welcoming the main act:
Violet in a black corset dancing in a large
martini glass, squeezing that big olive at them.
She takes off her top, revealing pasties, goes for a swim.
Is this Atlantis or Olympus or am I dreaming?
About the Writer
Dorothy Chan is the author of Attack of the Fifty-Foot Centerfold (Spork Press, forthcoming March 2018) and the chapbook Chinatown Sonnets (New Delta Review, 2017). She was a 2014 finalist for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship, and her work has appeared in Blackbird, Plume, The Journal, Spillway, Little Patuxent Review, The McNeese Review, Salt Hill Journal, and others. Chan is the Assistant Editor of The Southeast Review. Visit her website at dorothypoetry.com