for Kevin Kwan, who moved to Houston, Texas, at the age of 11
No fences. Cool. No sentry boxes. Cool,
the driveway stripes, the handkerchief-neat lawns,
like in the movies, Home Alone, or something.
He was not so hot about no maids. Lunch box
he had to pack himself and find his way
not only to but through Clear Lake High School,
the normal life his father engineered,
far away from hereditary privilege.
Who would anticipate the terminus,
the cancer in the family that struck
by lottery, and made him drop New York
for an uncertain term by his father's bed?
There they turned over still-bright memories
of Singapore, the gate that always squeaked,
the taste of Newton wanton mee, the click
of mahjong tiles, the garden birthday parties,
and shared a joke or else a thought, a word
or three, like crazy rich Asians. And yet
another privilege—the clean, white pillow
grew hot under father and he flipped it
for a cool offertory to the head.
I know he did. Last year I did the same.
By Koh Jee LeongQLRS Vol. 19 No. 1 Jan 2020