My grandfather’s children found his military flight log after he died.
No one seemed to want it so I asked. An uncle said I couldn’t understand.
I said my dad could translate but they said he could not, my need creating
their need to deny me. I realize he’s the prodigal son; they’re shutting him out too
and so we go to a museum, searching for a spectacle of public suffering.
There are spiral jade earrings on display with a caption about how
the progress of Chinese civilizations can be charted by the size of punctures
jewelry made, which corresponds to what each civilization considered healable.
They’re all much larger than anything I’d force through any part of my body,
but I guess that’s the whole idea, this foreign adornment narrowed to the sharpness of a pin
and so you let it in and as it spins it widens into the gyre of history
which is not yours, but consumes you. Who will heal this?
Jenny Liou is an English professor at Pierce College and a retired professional cage fighter. She lives and writes in Tacoma, Washington.