this house is not
a boat, & we

are not here
to steer you

back to kaohsiung

unpack your bags
the doctor is waiting

he wants to see you
draw a clock

he wants to hear you
talk to father

so they can translate
your words

to years that fit
inside their mouths too

i know
we are asking

a lot
after all,

how does one cure
a sickness that lives

in today
when he cannot

how does one beg
their hands

to turn off
a stove

if their fingers
only remember

how to bait
a hook

you can’t

zhè gè jiā bù shi
yī sōu chuán

wŏ mén bủ kĕ yĭ
sòng nĭ

huí qù
yé yé

fảng xià nĭ de dŏng xī
yī shēng dĕng zhe nĭ

tā yảo nĭ
huả huả

rán hòu tā yào tīng nĭ
jiăng huả

wŏ zhī dảo
má fán

kĕ shì nĭ xū yào

Kyle Liang is a first-generation-born Asian American and author of the chapbook, How to Build a House (Swan Scythe Press, 2018). His work has appeared in Anomaly, Apogee, Hobart, and elsewhere. He has been nominated for Best of the Net, Best New Poets, and Pushcart. You can find Kyle asleep at his keyboard the night before an exam, napping in his scrubs on the roof of the hospital, or on his website at