Homeric Similes in Japantown
As when the boy in the epic 
watched Mommy’s suitors eating  
his pet chickens,  
each pampered bird  
with a history, quirky habits, 
and a pagan name, 
and he must have watched with rage, 
a rage that, given a mouth  
and two words,  
would say fuck off 
(three more: 
no more daddies!), 
so too is your sour,  
inscrutable stare. 
  
But not quite as when the two  
missiles—short-range,  
air-to-air, seeking  
heat—shot down the defenseless airliner,  
embassies were abuzz, no one  
would accept blame, 
and reading his ghostwritten  
national address, our leader  
gazed coldly into cameras. 
  
No, just as when,  
in the restored fresco, he rises from the grave 
and from afar his side wound 
is a cat scratch,  
the nail hole’s a red coral button,  
and he looks solemnly,  
  
angrily as all get-up 
at the beholder— 
you look at me like that 
across the table. 
Not one soul in the world  
is safe. In the background, half the trees  
are bare. 
  
Half green. 
Some even on the verge  
of blossoming. 
You stare at me, stare. 
Miso, udon swim 
  
between us. 
Resentment,  
grilled mackerel.  
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