The Way to a Chinese Daughter’s Heart
BY STEPHANIE CHANG
for Richmond, BC
Imagine clouds salting wildfires
shaped like spicy tofu.
The girl I love stirs incense into Taiwanese films.
Spreads it over my eyes. So why did we sneak into
a Buddhist temple—I was raised Christian, after all.
In this dream, we’ve got bamboo flutes
for legs, woks for hair. The Chinese goddess, Nüwa,
wears an apron. Teaches us to drink the wind.
We flee to a city clotted with condos / cold /
coral-cheeked children / Cantonese
God, the first Michelin-starred chef. Is that who taught you
how to appreciate real food? The girl nods, strains noodles
through an ice bath. I say they resemble cut
umbilical cords. Not funny.
Then, listen to this iridescence, she insists.
Wonton soup gauzy with lime / light. Our lips:
gelatin, suckling takoyaki.
False jade earrings dye my ears green
as time sours the broth. So when do we
dance the night away? A paper lantern blooms
in my stomach. We laugh ourselves
all the way to breakfast, Dim Sum, No Face’s belly.
I seal our smiles inside red pocket money.
I want the girl’s face lit by night market signs,
neon veining her head
like a halo. Or a stir fry squid.