Kate Schapira


the creepy stretch

making a right

at the wall

tradition, a banner

at any rate

turn onto Breakfast Street









pick up our skirts and turn

all different women

draped in plastic mural sky, not as bright

any time more than once goes back

the dance is available

take advantage of it



river to the turn

turn to the blue and white fence

blue and white fence to the bridge

bridge to the rotary

rotary to the last turn

last turn to the hotel









garbage burning a crumble of charcoal

people and dogs

girl biking with sacks of ginger & chilis transparent double–width

torn pieces of white paper showering

little girl running out in her underpants

almost-collision with a police car between lanes, sunset



on a corner her long hair, plastic bucket

the stores on it, whatever she's using

the eye has to force itself outward

shining in what sun there is

city & country spread out, her feet their center








woman washing

black draws like liquid

to do justice

a crease in obstinate vision

the way we all see it, even foreigners



I recently spent part of a summer teaching English in central China, where I had never been before. The "Measure Words" poems are from my manuscript, The Another Notes, which attempts to explore the ethics of seeing as a foreigner. "Measure words" are used in Chinese with most nouns to denote that there is an amount there, in addition to the amount or number itself (an example in English is "a flock of seventeen sheep"). These poems acknowledge that I see the place I'm foreign to in moments, divisions.