Friday Poem


each ninth month of the year
the buds fallen & fruit forming
copper-gold jewels a child’s round cheeks

sah-lay, we call them, the sound of new seasons
two notes plucked from a song played on strings

they came to us: Chinese fruit to a Chinese family
from wartime sailboats, Captain Blueberry
guarding cuttings in his metal chest
my parents planted it like Jack’s magic seed
in time, the fruit came like doubloons

* * *

we explain they are apple-
pears, I explain them like I explain myself:
like one thing, like another
but neither, you must taste it to know it

as I leave for university
the sah-lay skins are yellow and green

mother & I find two ripe small imploded moons
we peel & cut the flesh honied & crisp
the translucence is still
on my tongue when I say goodbye:

mother’s efficient hug, brisk, her
small frame bony under my arms
father’s soft belly & tilted head
embrace, his eyes water

reaching high altitude, I recline
pocket of impossible life amidst thousands
of miles of empty air and light
dwarf nuggets hidden in
my body turn fibrous, dissolve.

by Andy Quan

from Slant
publisher: Nightwood Editions, Madeira Park, B.C., 2001