I pushed past him in 7/11
the girl in her orange and black uniform was bending down, hugging his Pekinese
Hands full of water, fags and VLT
he says Oh, Oh Sorry – kindly,
crinkly like crepe
paper, nicotine hands. I smile
sweat breaking into fat beads, sticky as chewing gum
murmur Momentai – no worry, no worry
Aiya! He slaps his forehead as if
Speaking to God
– how can this chubby white girl
roll the words of my tongue
right back at me?
Missy, Missy – what’s your job?
The shop girl’s got a blunt fringe and a snigger as she passes me
my change – I turn my unoccupied
earbud-less ear to him and say
Lo See. Teacher. I am a teacher.
Three years already.
Bastard Chinese. He stoops
in a mock bow, no malice – oh Missy!
we’re neighbours, co-conspirators now and he sees
the way I smile at
his ugly little dog. Lo See?
His chuckle warms my backside
out of the door. Ha ha ha
Cantonese very good!
I throw back a wave at the wink
of his missing teeth and say Ba Bye Ah as I leave.