Sunfish, S. F. Denton via New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, CC BY NC ND
Sunfish, S. F. Denton via New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, CC BY NC ND

To Alexander Fu on His Beginning and 13th Birthday

Cut from your mother, there was a first heartache, 
a loneliness before your first peek 
at the world, your mother’s hand was a comb 
for your proud hair, fresh from the womb— 
born at night, you and moonlight tipped the scale 
a 6lb 8oz miracle, 
a sky‐kicking son 
born to Chinese obligation 
but already American. 
You were a human flower, a pink carnation. 
You were not fed by sunlight and rain. 
You sucked the wise milk of Han. 

Your first stop, the Riverdale station, 
a stuffed lion and meditation. 
Out of PS 24, you will become 
a full Alexander moon over the trees 
before you’re done. It would not please 
your mother to have a moon god for a son. 
She would prefer you had the grace 
to be mortal, to make the world a better place. 
There is a lesson in your grandmother’s face: 
do not forget the Way 
of your ancestors.  Make a wise wish 
on your 13th birthday, seize the day 
from history and geography. 
If you lead, you will not lose the Way, 
in your family’s good company 
where wisdom is common as a sunfish, 
protected from poisonous snakes by calligraphy: 
paintings of many as the few, the few as many. 
You already dine on a gluten‐free dish 
of some dead old King’s English. 
In your heart, keep Fu 
before Alexander and do 
unto others as you would have others do 
unto you.
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