I sat in a small restaurant in the southernmost district of Beijing. There was a food rating on the wall: C. With a fat, yellowed, sad-face emoji. Chinese people parted around me and my luggage as Jennifer, the woman who’d recruited me to come work in Beijing, stuffed a vinegared cucumber into my mouth. “Foreigners are terrible at chopsticks,” she told me. I chewed. I wanted to say to her that I wasn’t terrible at chopsticks, that I was pretty good actually, but, of course, I couldn’t: my mouth was full.
Benjamin Davis is the author of a novella-in-verse: The King of FU (Nada Blank Press). His other poems can be found in SOFTBLOW, Maudlin House, Rat’s Ass Review, Star 82 Review, and elsewhere.