Church bells chime in a quaint chapel downtown,
the second your eyes land on my face,
I hear it distinctly in a Santa Monica grocery store,
twelfth of June.
I push my legs out of a mama cocoon.
You walk towards me, consciously slow,
like we’re in a sci-fi movie.
Motion dawdles and that cubic foot of space
separating us— collides like a meteorite on earth.
If we stick out our arms, our clothes will touch,
our fingers, skin will meet static and spark.
Here we are, in the heart of a grocery store,
like strangers from another universe.
I’m scarcely breathing; you’re silent as a mime,
windless and parched.
Say something, anything and when a little boy
in the cereal aisle calls you Daddy--
I hear church bells again, chiming louder than before.
Collisions in life, this one hits the hardest,
I wish we were like two military jets in the sky,
one traveling west, the other heading east.
We’ll swerve to the right, veer to the left,
avoid crash, trauma.
Canola oil, almond biscuits, and your son’s smile,
that’s what I’ll remember after we’re done
exchanging pleasantries, wishing each other well.
The exit door slides wide open.
I’m carrying a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter,
and a carton of milk to the car—
this collision with you will take a while
Ha Kiet Chau’s writings have been published in many literary journals in the US, UK, and Asia. She teaches art and literature in San Francisco, California. Her chapbook, Woman, Come Undone, is forthcoming from Mouthfeel Press in 2013. http://hapoetryblog.tumblr.com/