Glass Poetry Press

Volume Two Issue Two

Brent Newsom


A single stray pebble, tiny and black, in a forty-kilo bag of rice — how oddly human, how sober, to feel so alone in a nation of one point three billion faces, most of them staring at me, a six foot four inch wai guo ren, walking briskly toward my classroom. There was a day last week the only thing that kept me from flying home was my discovery of a popcorn vendor just outside my campus, with his gas bottle and burner rigged on a three-wheeled cycle; he pops the corn in butter and Sprite, and I swear it tastes exactly like kettle corn you buy at the state fair. Yesterday I paid my phone bill all by myself; when I got back I stuck the receipt on the fridge, like a kindergarten finger-painting. I kept thinking how Sarah would laugh if she saw the way I jerk my head when I speak Chinese, tracing the rise and fall of the tones with my bearded chin. Then I reminded myself again not to think of Sarah, that in my story she's a character whose role keeps shrinking as the story goes on, until, in the end, the reader sees she was a very minor character indeed, and hardly warranted the dull ache that lasted for months, and anyhow, Tulsa is half a world away.