Alice Brasser © 2019

Alice Brasser © 2019


       by Aaron Caycedo-Kimura


after Edward Hopper’s Chop Suey, 1929

a man lights a cigarette at the next table

my wool coat and scarf hanging in the sun behind me

soak up the smell of fried rice garlic sauce smoke

we’ve lingered long enough this November afternoon

talked about jobs children a failed marriage

before we get up walk freeze-dried New York streets

you lean in superstitiously read your fortune to me again

under the clinking and clicking silverware and dishes

you say I got your fortune you have my life  


family anthem

I walk into the garage from side door sunlight Billy Joel on my Walkman

my eyes dissolve the darkness to discover my parents locked

in a slow-dance embrace whispering to each other like lovers

but my parents aren’t lovers they’re Japanese they never kiss hold hands

never say I love you even to me once I asked my mother if she loved me

my parents never said it she replied but I knew they did

my parents hear my shuffle separate like guilty teenagers Mom escapes

into the house Dad into the station wagon opens the garage door I fumble

forget what I was looking for but all afternoon replay that dissonant chord

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Aaron Caycedo-Kimura’s poetry appears or is forthcoming in Poet Lore, Naugatuck River Review, Off the Coast, Connecticut River Review, Gravel, Crack the Spine, Rust + Moth, Tule Review, and elsewhere. He is also the author and illustrator of Text, Don’t Call: An Illustrated Guide to the Introverted Life (TarcherPerigee).