all together, now

galloping through aisle 5

didn’t expect there to be an end to aisle 5

cause when you’re galloping can’t you just keep going?

but there she stood at the canola oils

a wrinkly white lady

mouth O-pen in surprise at first

melting into a forgiving smile second

like oh you kid

like you funny little kid with your imagination

the kid never neighed again

(it’d be too weird you know?)

just collected coupon stubs from those dispensers

the closest things to getting what you want when you can’t have Rice Krispies,

only Cheerios

that’s okay though, mom says chemicals are poison so once

she spit out the popcorn dad bought

out of spite towards mom

and mom and dad fought silently

anyways

wandering the aisles, holding a stranger’s hand by accident

while mom slapped watermelon specimens

looking for sandy echoes

aggressively

hopefully

there’s comfort in being in your own aisle

isle?

feels something not too different from sleeping on the couch behind her parents watching

Michael Jordan on the TV

their sitting bodies saying “SHOOT”

keeping her from rolling off the edge

compartmentalizing, staying connected

listening to the digestion in 爸爸’s tummy

“shoot,” can’t tell if that’s a curse or a command

just like she once mixed up “shy” and “晒”

in one of those rare moments she spoke to the 60-year-old merciful teacher without being asked

when she couldn’t squint her eyes open to that East Bay sun

“i’m 晒“

“you are?”

another confused white lady with wrinkles

On the swings of that Christian preschool

if you swing hard enough

if you fly high enough

can you fall straight down and die?

no one in her family was Christian but this School they made sure of this

Jesus Loves You This I Know

For the Bible Tells Me So

know this

“以备,齐!“ when you’re ready

repeat after me, all together now, white religion

go now, you are forgiven

they’ll forgive you now

forgive you for blurring Mandarin with the ABCs

for being a horse in aisle 5 at Albertson’s