It is time for another bowl, my stomach says,
and my eyes agree in low baritone, whispering
to Godfather, who says we must wait patiently.
She sits at the counter, the cook, the mother,
the owner of things, to see if our bowls are empty,
and they are, empty and wiped clean with air
sifting around our obedience, and she comes
over with more to eat. This is my favorite place,
Godfather says, the man who gave me my name
like wind or air, kind and deep face of a man
who rides his bike through the campus, gliding
under palm trees to beat the way summer claims
your skin here this close to the equator,
or to where things are equal. Here my mother
has come to be Chinese with me, still brown
the way she brought me to life, all thick
with the juice of living inside her without air.
It is real or zhen de 真的 the true, genuine
way my family assembles in a place foreign
but familiar, my chopsticks working my fingers
so quickly people ask where I learned to eat.
I learned in a city of pain, the bricks baked
red and hard in some secret place in heaven.