Jenny Jiang

Three Years After the Adoption’s Finalization, Contemplating Predestination
by Jenny Hykes Jiang

I’m scrubbing egg and dried-on rice from the bowls,
dunking cups through the sudsy murk.

He brings me a square of paper dotted with perfectly round holes.
Here. I made it for you.

It’s an old cd sleeve
with most of the cellophane ripped away.

He’s pulled a dried-out reddish marker
across the paper in a fashion resembling nothing,

then found my hole punch
to make an assortment of circles.

I cannot say there is design.
Nor can I say there is not.

I hold it up to the evening light.

One day I think he must ask why,
or, as I have, how they could have done it or not done it.

And how do I know
if he will shudder, as I have,

in stunned gratitude
that they did and didn’t.

His hair wisps a color between
sand and earth; his smile explodes,

expands like nothing our gene pool could
fashion, overwhelming,

undoing, re-creating his whole
stubby, sun-browned face.

As an artist might take a small scissors
and plain white paper and suddenly unfold

a city of skyscrapers, laced with windows,
or a ruffled peony bee-studded, tinged pink.

What can I say to Calvin, to the Apostle Paul, to Plato,
to all the knots anyone has ever wished

to tie on this ragged cloak called knowing?
Here is this riddled light. A ribbon of holes.

My hands, still damp, have warped
and wrinkled the paper. He’s gone

to punch more holes. I tape the gift
to a window washed with night.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 23, Issue 3.

Jenny Hykes JiangJenny Hykes Jiang’s poetry has appeared in Arts & Letters, Caesura, Tule Review, and elsewhere. Raised in rural Iowa, she has taught English as a Second Language literacy skills in Asia and throughout the United States. Currently she is raising three sons in the Sacramento area.

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