A Yi in the Mouth Back Forward

1None beyond guide
books has one—
in the English—written
of the plateau’s
sixth standing guard

2 Not one but a tongue
reserved solely
for Xanghuaren

3A Traveling native noise
defined here by the alphabet I’ve presented




4The second tone
of the Mandarin
I invite inside
my mouth



5A six seated vehicle edging
along the thousand meter
drop, on the gulp
of red bull

& afterward we blew
smoke over rapeseed


Nearest Sparrow Mountain1
a village is echoing yī​2
            is good, happy, so-so
                         & fine. Yī​,
                                      from the middle
                                                   of the throat, one says

in place of hǎo4:
               (I speak to you
                through a valley).

Some people inhabit their yī​
              so often there is nothing
disagreeable about them, even
in rain-soaked grass—except
             sometimes when one
wards off a yī​

through layers of opaque
curtains, acrylic—a line drawn
around a house.

Once in a miànbāochē5 a yī​
             slipped through my fingers
& became a screw-shaped key.

A yī​-
              tiding from the builder
of the keyhole & the carpenter
who shaped a home around its door.

Floodlights are mounting, we roll along
the road—dropping
            on the left—the yī in reverb​

& a yī
                          wide enough to leap
                                         past its echo

                             to sing a yī for you.