Year of the Monkey


The bow-tied boys and the ribboned girls
their tiny permanent-press shoulders
light on the starch re-ironed pose in alphabetical order
their water-patted hair Shanghai decadent

Too casual to be the center of attention
I mimic a blue-piping white plaid Dino
with a gold-stitched crest
sleeves well above the wrist

scrunched left collar peeking
staring right eye peripheral
at all those young bare thighs so freshly talcumed
my other glassy eye, the curious one

wanders next to her into yards
of fluffy umbrellaed taffeta
a dreamy, puffy cloud creasing
the folded red construction paper

cut out in the shape of my peeping
six-year-old heart in dog years already
too worldly wise about the knees
and the bees and the racing pulse

of this matter to climb the trees swinging
off supple ivory limbs in muggy tropical
heat too intense for dire woolen nuns
intent on their missionary positions

hidden away on the second floor so as to cause
wonder of what temptations awaits upstairs,
a forbidden city of black-robed, white-collared
flagellates deflowering many pearl-skinned infidels

Atop her carnal altar, the young Chinese girl-next-door
leaps high in joy, a tomboy unaccustomed to curtsying
and my head down on the scratched maple desktop
sees paradise bloom, Superman x-ray vision penetrating.