Jetlag sets your mind to zero.
You wake in the dark;
Reach to touch her leg
You are in a
House of lonely rooms.
I think of places we shared:
The Summer Palace;
That hill next to the Forbidden City
Where the last Ming emperor hung himself;
The Great Wall;
Thousands of warriors made of clay near Xian;
With its lake filled with lotus
Surrounded by weeping trees.
The streets of Shanghai
Crowded with a billion people.
We held hands;
Risked our lives crossing streets
Belonging to taxis
That charge by the yuan.
Now, the only sounds I wake to
Are jets flying to LAX
Thirty miles away
Reminding me no one is
In this misty-eyed Los Angeles house
To sing and dance in the mornings.
A neighbor says
Someone is breaking into houses.
I think of my father’s gun
With bullets that explode on impact
The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight,
The second hand on the clock
Crawls through a desolate wasteland.
I don’t fit in this house
When my one-of-a-kind Empress isn’t home.
In China soft rain falls on her hair.
The garden needs water.