On the Dawn of the Chinese New Year

by Meg Thompson

Chill rain at a slant, the clearest
gray, Chinatown streets

moving fast in the beautiful,
garlic-tinged morning:

today is my birthday, again.
I was and then I wasn’t 25.

In the Year of the Rat we are running
to the subway, trying not to

look like we are from Ohio,
but apologizing when people run

into us, my hair turning
another color in the rain,

shinier, like flames, uncurled
and smooth as blood.

I move faster than him,
wanting to stop

and buy a pear, a grapefruit,
anything, just to hold something

brighter against the day
but we are late.

He fought in the warmest war.
So did I. I was right behind him,

but he never turned around.
Nothing between us

but heat, I stared at him.
Today is the opposite.

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