Jacaranda-Tree

I only have mouth ulcers when
I want to eat oranges.
Even now, as I write this poem I want
To eat oranges.
My friend once wrote a poem
About oranges; the bitter peel of the fruit,
Some memory of her father:
The ash taste, the ash flesh.

Today I met a girl who was not
Sad, or bad, or mad,
She was just 
Okay
While wearing a funny hat
While speaking with a funny mouth.
At the park we tried to talk
I climbed the jacaranda tree.
In my awkwardness, she seemed to think
I was going to jump.

But I did not
I took my mouth ulcers home
Where I mostly pretend to be English.
At home I watch an English television show,
I eat the thick, white bread,
I only drink teas with milk.
In the next room, my beleaguered father
Falls asleep. He is growing old.

But when I was young, he told me a story
About a boy and a tree full of orange blossoms.

I no longer remember it now, but then,
It made me cry.
—  Yiwei Chai, Oranges