Poetry: Genève/Geneva Chao’s “Things I’ve Vomited Since Nov. 9, 2016 (a partial list)”

Things that I’ve vomited since Nov. 9, 2016
include my breakfast on Nov. 10, 2016, which
was the first day I attempted to eat breakfast,
blobs of egg and beans that did not decide
to become part of my cells; include three
chocolate chip cookies that I baked before
I realized my gorge was still rising, and which
came out like play-dough, one pliable lump;
include Thanksgiving dinner, with its dry
turkey and greasy dressing, its mashed
potatoes dripping with gravy and melted
butter; include the McDonald’s Sriracha burger
I was furnished in desperation one workaday
noon, and which was surprisingly good; include
17 har gow I ate between mealtimes
the Saturday following the election; include one
boat ride across the Pacific in 1948 and one
boat ride across the Atlantic in 1610 (or there-
abouts); include two pieces of ice cream cake
I baked to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s
birthday; include a deluxe shrimp burrito
and fourteen corn chips with tomatillo salsa
purchased from the taqueria off Mission and
washed down with a glass bottle of startlingly
fizzy mineral water; include the deed to my
parents’ first house in Alexandria, Virginia; include
the Supreme Court ruling that made their marriage legal
in every state shortly before; include three
plates of fettucine alfredo provided to me at a
church volunteer luncheon; include the body
of Christ and the bread of heaven available at
the same location; include the mothers’
milk I supplied to my daughter for two years;
include six mini quiche Florentines and a
half-glass of California chardonnay, thrust
into my hand by a fellow room parent at the PTA
soiree; include seventeen tumbleweeds that
blew down my throat during a visit to
Manzanar Relocation Camp; include the
garlic bread my son made for dinner on Dec. 3;
include my father’s required signature on my mother’s
first credit card application; include six mini frozen
cream puffs from the Boy Scout Awards Dinner dessert
table; include a quart of potato salad somebody
left to dry up like a raisin in the sun; include the
memory of my father’s being fired from his
job for talking back; include two individual
serving size containers of vanilla flavored
Greek yogurt with live and active cultures;
include thirteen postcards from a boy
who wanted to date me in 1998; include two
orders of Animal Style fries from the Culver City
In-N-Out Burger; include my wedding ring, my
engagement ring, and my unborn children; include
three Boston Crème doughnuts and a half-cup
of lukewarm coffee at the Tigers Fun Run in
South Pasadena; include my willingness
to walk down the street after dark; include
my children’s birth certificates, ages, and
names; include a fibrous and bloody half-stem
of Chinese broccoli and its attendant oyster
sauce; include my grandfather’s broken
English; include a six-pack of Kozy
Shack tapioca pudding; include my
daughter’s safety; include my son’s
freedom; include the shreds of
ragged meat around my heart
and possibly my heart itself

***

Genève/Geneva Chao is the author of one of us is wave one of us is shore, a discours amoureux in French and English (Otis Books | Seismicity Editions), and Hillary Is Dreaming (Make Now Books). Chao’s poetry has also been anthologized in (Some From)DIAGRAM: A Print Anthology (Del Sol Press, 2003) and The L.A. Telephone Book, vol. 2 (2014). Chao’s translations include Gérard Cartier’s Tristran and, with François Luong, Nicolas Tardy’s Encrusted on the Living ( [lx] press)Christophe Tarkos for the collection Ma Langue Est Poétique (Roof Books, 2001), and Yves Di Manno for A Review of Two Worlds: French and American Poetry in Translation (Otis, 2005). In 2015, Chao translated and installed Román Luján’s poem “Playas” in Spanish and English broadsides on the border fence at Playas de Tijuana, Mexico.

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