Vivian Jiang: For Sale

March/April 2019, Place and Displacement, Poetry

For Sale

In a quiet neighborhood pictured under
the dictionary definition of “homogeneous,” nestled between
neighbors who are just obsessed! with General Tso’s Chicken, rests
a charming, modern home built in the winter of 1999.

Step through the front door and listen
for the sounds of sneakers lined up like soldiers
on the entry carpet and the squeaks of rubbery house slippers.
Admire the glazed tawny wood floors, tan from biking down

the block and waiting for Mama and Baba to catch up.
There’s plenty of space for storage. The closet is big
enough for past crushes on athletes with blonde hair
and blue eyes. And sharp retorts that should’ve been chucked

back at the clear-skinned girls from Saturday Chinese school.
Stroll to the kitchen and skim your fingers along
the counter’s dark dips, divots and dents from hacking
at puberty’s cousin Acne and summer’s hungry mosquitoes.

Snoop around the kitchen and sniff the niceties of the spices:
star anise, szechuan, scallions, and smooth sesame oil.
Mister Kikkoman stains the spice rack’s swiveling skeleton
with Pollock-like splatters from scrambling to screw the sticky lid.

Bask in the natural light that trickles in through
the oversized windows. Previous owners have experienced
heat loss and rainwater leakage due to excessive trust,
but recent renovations have reduced this issue.

Don’t fret about safety for this home is now equipped with a built
-in security system, specialized in detecting broken
promises and outbreaks of yellow fever. Make your way up
the spiraling staircase and notice the handrails curling

inwards from natural age and anxiety. Picture yourself
in this bright bedroom, a Billie Jean bassline booming, legs up
the wall, mismatched socks perking up when Baba trumpets
his suppertime fanfare. The bath features a Jacuzzi wide

enough for both you and the cloudy, diluted you that weakly
smiles when others say your pretty 4 an asian chick.
Can’t you see yourself relaxing here, marinating in this human-sized
soup till the broth is ice-cold and your fingers tender and pruney,
practically falling off the bone?

Well, what are you waiting for? This home is truly a rare find
and could soon be yours! Shown by private appointment only.


Summer Interior, 1909

“Summer Interior” by Edward Hopper


Vivian Jiang is a student at Cornell University, studying Government and Creative Writing. When she isn’t writing poetry, she can be found ranting about how pickles are sacrilegious to the cucumber or making new playlists that are often too similar to the ones she’s already assembled.

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