I trudged back here in orange boots and a parasol
wondering if I’d still see old men playing cards on Atlantic and Main.
The streets we used to play on, they are old and worn,
a promise of white sidewalk turned into perpetual construction.
Foreign characters, sharp dialects, and weathered faces,
they were the multicolored flags of our district.
I saw gray street water and tiles where our shop used to be,
cigarette butts and stickers scraped together in an altar.
I hoped that I’d see you back here in the Chinese valley
But your characters soon changed to letters I couldn’t read.
I want to tuck you in to warm covers, cook you noodles and stew.
But now that old dim sum restaurant is dilapidated
and all our friends have gone.
This poem is included in The Sophomore Year Experience poetry compilation.