Chinese Spirits for An American Lady
For J. W.
You are not armed for this yet,
This bottle of liquor with a cap of pewter
Screwed tight around its neck.
You are not used to opening it
With your teeth;
You are not ready for that.
You say you do not go alcoholic in the States
But tasting Chinese spirits would be something
You could boast
When you go back.
So I lend you not my hand but my teeth
And spare you the searching for a Swiss knife.
Before I can warn, you have already gargled
The colorless liquid into your mouth
The way your people drink beer,
Not the way we sip.
"Oh, so strong is the kick!"
You tear, you snivel, and you dribble.
We are planning an evening out in the lingering light,
And in America, a day is breaking.
For many Chinese, your given name is associated with love
Through a novel, but few think of the origin of your family name.
Note: This is the first poem I wrote in English. It was inspired by an American visiting teacher from Elon University, NC, to the Chinese university I taught.
为J. W. 而作