Don’t Give the Lazy Immigrant Flowers
The world is full; you and I are just strangers.
But at least this park is empty. I walk
on the left and don’t need to make way
for those passing me in a hurry. I am simply
at my lazy immigrant pace.
A fortune-teller once said it takes on average
a year for an average immigrant to get a job.
It took me two. They interviewed me and my deft
fingers for data entry. I said I am bilingual;
have lived in three countries, and love
poetry. They nodded. “What else?” I can multitask.
They laughed. “All women can,” they said.
The lazy immigrant has nothing to lose
in the woman’s world of administration
doing a woman’s work. Women talk about
Top Shop, tousled hair, make-up and shoes.
I am too queer to listen. A task well done
means sometimes we get to bring home
a bouquet of flowers – a reward from the boss
who says my name is hard to remember.
I, the lazy immigrant, work hard
but flowers have no place at home
or in this park where white ibis and pigeons scavenge
next to the Confucius statue.
Just like this swollen world has no place
for the three little alphabets I’ve earned
to put after my name – I remove them
from my résumé, and drop them in a tree’s crevasse,
next to a startled possum – the way I’ve seen
it done in a Wong Kar Wai film years ago.
Here, gnarled trees steel their sere backs
and let their crowns roar louder than wind.
Not fluent in English, their voice is often mistaken
as the crying sound of self-pity. It’s Sunday,
and I am too lazy to commiserate.