on scarcity
by Diana Hou

It’s a beaming winter day and Dad wears the same
beige coat he’s worn for twenty-five years
legend has it he paired it with a blue scarf
the day he landed in New York
with two suitcases and ten dollars

He can boil a whole chicken no salt no oil
He can charm a table afloat
shudder his beer,
maxim and proverb with blunt
force our ears know
the ring of his empty
plate not knowing how
to say yes

He develops intimacy with
the plastic over the remote control
Allows timid ends to unstick and curl up
capture dust in high definition

It’s a stubborn summer night and Dad moves to where
there are no sidewalks
Maybe he wants to be by the sea again
like in his springtime before America
oysters a-plenty and mountains
of mussels all ripe at the same time, stand ready
in town with your bucket, hoist the mollusks
home and boil them crowd around watch for their
silent scream, smear them
in vinegar garlic soy sauce
Only this time
it’s the Long Island Sound and the sea is empty

Diana Hou is a Chinese poet from Queens who is grateful to poetry as a way to be in body. Their other teachers are dancing, drumming, organizing, friendship, and mushrooms.