I sit in the part of my sister’s Tampa condo
that’s above someone else’s garage,
someone who speaks Mandarin
into a smart phone before he drives off
in the morning.
In the evening I see him doing Tai Chi
with five black-bellied whistling ducks
at the condo’s Alligator Lake. When
he sits down on the lake’s lonely bench,
I go down and join him.
The conversation is easy with him, as
between old men of a Common Era he says.
He eats mostly coconut, grapefruit, and
cinnamon toast. He’s a widow and a retired
physics teacher at FSU, but since his daughter
was killed by a college student drunk driver,
he volunteeres at the school’s Asian Center.
We thought we’d be safe in America, he says,
but as a physicist I knew better. Nothing
is certain and at no point can one predict
stability. How could it be that I’m a childless
widow in a Florida condo that has a pet
alligator? He holds up both hands and interlaces
his fingers in a way that makes his thumbs disappear.
For the life of me, I cannot figure it out.
When my sister yells from her porch
for me to come to dinner, Dr. Hue says to
come back tomorrow and he’ll show me
how it works.