From San Francisco neighborhoods and suburbs that
bleed into each other’s orbit, I run errands in Chinatown
no longer as my ancestors did for opium, forgeries, or
gaming, but for roots and plants, particularly those
resembling dried reptiles to be powdered according to
prescriptions handwritten in ink on printed pads from
medically degreed certified acupuncturists, who write
in Chinese characters I cannot read
I safely walk gutters in alleys once leading to back rooms
and warehouses guarded by renegades and . . .
. . . . . . .
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Able Muse Write Prize for Poetry, 2020 ▪ Finalist