Often I am permitted to return to this buffet,
as if it were a place like the Middle Kingdom
of my soul, which has grown overpopulated
with loneliness. Nobody’s in this booth but me,
under a panorama of the Temple of Heaven,
with another plate of diminishing returns…
Raising a skewered prawn, I think of you.
You’d appreciate these attempts at verisimilitude—
artificial petals above steaming feeding stations,
support columns carved out like tree trunks,
servers in panda suits, etc.—and understand me
when I say, “My gut’s not right; I myself am
the hot glaze on my General Tso’s chicken.”
Tonight you’ll have one complete thought, in bed.
for Andrew Donovan