My Chinese Teacher

Roberta Gould

The way Yeh Tai Tai looked deeply into me
  asking “Do you understand?”
  when I barely knew more 
  than that simple question,
  she much older than I and with 
  that loving face,
   and when she passed on my left 
  as I sat reading
  and pressed an index finger into my arm
  showing she was there,
  these were the start of a connection
  to a new mother
   tongue 
 
  Its rising and falling tones
   its lack of verbal inflections
  and the direct way of speech
  were not the only keys
   to a love that has lasted
  but, too, the party she made for us
  when her husband opened a restaurant,
  another personal touch 
  worth more than a thousand pages
 
  And her laugh and her looks and her breath.



 

Roberta Gould is the author of 11 books of poetry. A 12th, Gallactic Alleys, awaits publication in 2017. Gould’s poems have appeared widely in poetry journals including Green Mountain Review, Confrontation, The Manhattan Poetry Review, Socialism and Democracy, The New York Times, in anthologies, The Art and Craft of Poetry, A Slant of Light, Mixed Voices, among others, and in various online publications.

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