Grace Lau




we are here to disrupt

but in a Good way


let us hack

your bodega

into something bite-

sized, something we recognize

turn it into

a vending machine


it’s now

a better bodega

you’re welcome


let us give        everyone a voice

watch them Babel

each other’s skulls into ash

no voice is wrong

we are all

wrong in the trite

grace of these white spaces


let us safeguard freedom

of speech      even

when it is born of a forked

tongue hung from

ashen necks


let us rest our hearts

on a pyramid

of shackled eyes


let our restless fingers

grope a path

to new net worths


our reach will grow      long

across the oceans’


yielding bodies

and once we have finished

there will be                Mars





every time i go home

there is a new

piece of paper

on my grandmother’s walls

little reminders

that can’t be lost

the way she misplaces

her keys, the date, our names




星期一, 星期二, 星期三 1

written in thick felt pen, clipped

over the red and gold calendar, still

flipped to december 2017


how we find ways

of living

in the past

i wonder when the days began

to blur, what is the last

day she remembers, if

she got to choose

to keep a happy day

or if the tape just

stops and rewinds       stops

and rewinds




then came the 燈 2

taped to the lightswitch


with a giant
drawn next to it


because that character

is not covered by

an elementary school education

in china

it would not have kept

her family’s bellies

warm anyway




then there was 不要出門 3

taped to the front door

because ah ma doesn’t remember

to wear her address

tag when she goes

for walks

one time my dad found her

twelve blocks from our house and still

walking. i suspect she is happier

not wearing our home

around her neck




every time i go home

there is a new

piece of paper

on my grandmother’s walls

every time i go home

she asks me

what day it is

i tell her

she says, “what’s that? i’m deaf”

i tell her again               louder

she asks me again

what day it is,

i tell her          again

it’s the only dance

we both know the steps to

but sometimes

she doesn’t summon

me to dance


she is out

for a walk


1 星期一, 星期二, 星期三: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

2 燈: light

3 不要出門: Do not leave


Grace Lau is a queer Chinese-Canadian writer living in TkaRonto, part of the territory of the Mississauga, the Anishnabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and is published or forthcoming in Frontier Poetry, Yes, Poetry, Arc, and elsewhere.

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