Language immersion program

I threw out a wok scabbed
greenwhite as a boat hull, a ceiling fan
lying in a smash of angles
like a dead dragonfly,
a slather of tattoo magazines.
Kept the bible in Mandarin
and guidebooks in French

as if I could flip through the years
and get back one language
or learn the other.
I fanned them
under the glasstop table
where they crazed my eyes like aquarium fish
whenever I entered the room.

Nothing is entirely wrecked or lost.
My neighbours know this.
Their brilliant and invisible cooking
lifts up into my bedroom
some nights.

What will I ask them when I stumble
into speech—how did they scour
that barnacled wok and what
might still happen to us all,
in this building matted
with scaffolding,
their kitchen hung open like a mouth—

poet's biography —>