Every standing puddle accedes to the vanity of those who peer in.
As this is China, the faces that appear are not our own.
Even near ancestors like my mother’s father, laoye, live here.
Last time we were together was in a living room earned by his military service,
teas steaming in porcelain cups bearing cobalt dragons, his eyes
two black rubies intent with focus. How he laughed with hurt
and pushed the chess pieces forward when I called him slow, meaning to play.
Later, too embarrassed to apologize, I asked for stories of his war days.
I remember him clearing his throat, readying to speak, clearing and clearing
like a wind on a puddle that, no matter how it blows, can never
find its source of being. That’s all I remember. Everything else to know
he left here. In the water’s reflection, I mean.