My wife pays a park ranger for the extra car
And though embarrassed by her broken
English, she hounds the ranger for change.
I try my Cantonese on her.
“Hoe-how Hoe-hah,” I think I am asking
For a Coca-Cola. She smiles. I have asked
For a whore house. She says, she “Never
Expected to live like this, after Hong Kong.”
She says, “We are living like the homeless.”
I tell her, “Not like the homeless, honey,
We’re camping.” My adopted son
Erects a pyramid of pine cones,
His rodent smile seethes with pyromania.
Thirteen frightens us. Part King Tut,
Part Willy Wonka he is jittery
With expectation of marshmallow.
A beetle drops from the sky, my wife’s
Daughter screams. She’s seen the Science
Channel special on Japanese Hornets
And Killer Bees, Locust Swarms
And Fire Ants. We are not safe.
The beetle flits from rock to rock
Around the fire pit: antennae,
Like scepters, perform their ritual
In the plastic, yellow flashlight’s flickering.
Translate, transcode, transmit, then send.
The constellations listen in,
Rat, dog, monkey, rabbit, tiger.
My daughter from a previous
Marriage calls us over. Her nose
Twitches, she stares down the beetle
And we fall in behind her, shoulder
To shoulder, 2 blue eyes, 3 green,
5 brown, 10 hands, 49.5
Fingers, 2 penises, 3 vaginas,
17 mosquito bites, 23
Cavities, a universe of DNA
And a flashlight.
They are dog, monkey, rabbit, tiger, rat…