Monkey and I Share a Cell
There is a mountain over our heads,
Sun Wukong. You can call it Buddha’s
hand, his five fingers, moss-covered fist.
You can call it nature’s five elements
earth, air, fire, water, metal
Or, what they have taught us of our nature —
the five temperaments
sexy — but passive! — tame.
I am quietly building a hammer,
Sun Wukong. I’ll weight the head
with the faces of cashiers in Chinatown
when I can’t answer in the correct
language, set the counter-balance
with the expressions of tourists
two blocks from Chinatown when I can.
Will you lend me your staff, Sun Wukong?
I want my hammer’s shaft to weigh
13,500 pounds. I want my hammer
to remember the centuries it spent
as a celestial nail, holding down
the bed of Milky Way, and the look
in the eyes of the Dragon King
of the Eastern Sea as you ripped it
from the ground and his palace
crumbled about his ears.
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