Condominium Song #3

Courtesy of Flickr.

Steve speaks slowly, and because he is the 
Housing Association President,
he also speaks in detail, willing nothing
be missed or wrong. He is old so events
take on their own genealogy, what
happened before what, who happened to whom,
so each story is a seedling turned tree.
Plans for replacing the guard railing’s paint
that’s peeling become a history lesson
spanning thirty years and have everything
to do, somehow, with PSA counts, and, 
living alone, how there’s no one to help
him to the doctor but me, unemployed 
and likely to on account of friendship
built on our hallway chats, laundry room chats,
mailbox chats, nodes of his daily routine.
And in elaborating on his health
methodically the whole way there, time
is spent waiting for him to catch up
to himself, to news his prostate is not
abnormal, which can’t mean, he is sure, normal,
until I say so. Then, when I invite 
him to dinner with a friend, he says no.

Michael Shiaw-Tian Liaw is currently working and writing from Hong Kong. He has poems forthcoming in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal.
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