The Shanghai Excursion

Stephanie Guo, the marzipan-loving flute player, takes us on a trip through a Shanghai market.

Wreathed in white space,
I ask you
To stencil me in

 

(teach me the ways
of the modern woman)

..
…..
……….
……………….
……………………..
……………….
……….
…..
..

And you

All but refuse. for

futile is the woman
who cannot strut about
a crowded east-asian fish market
in six-inch stiletto heels.

hawkers may beckon,
but she remains a miserly vale.
no tip, no bag, no purchase:
you, seller. you clearly rigged the scale.

1,000% discount and counting,
she saunters away,
balances a tottering tray of dimsum
with a menagerie of goldfish:
polite curios for the little cousins.

(At the end of the New Year celebrations,
She’ll be in charge of clearing out
The fish tank in
Remarkably inauspicious
Black bags.)

in a city where six-hour grocery trips
are the norm,
more futile is the woman
who smells of fresh tilapia
at the end of said time interval.

(six times sixty
is three-sixty, did you know that?)

and – and –
in case you’ve forgotten:

most futile
is the woman
who cannot taste a rhetorical question

at the tip of her own tongue

 

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