Spotlight: Sonnet II: We’re Not in Chinatown Anymore / Sonnet XI: Fast Paces of Street Market Life


Sonnet II: We’re Not in Chinatown Anymore

Philly’s Chinatown has no Hollywood,
just a bunch of ripped up movie billboards,
blockbusters translated into Chinese,
signs right in front of the bookshop where I wait:
my father is buying his zodiac books,
fortunes for the new year. He’s psychic—
it’s the Tiger telling his Snake daughter
to watch her mouth, control her temper,
and avoid Rabbits in the game of love:
too much passion for too little time.

At this point, I’m too young. Rabbits are cute.
All I know is I want a bubble tea
from the ma & pa bake shop next door.
I look at the fluffy cakes. I want them all.


Sonnet XI: Fast Paces of Street Market Life

At home, Grandpa and Grandma get ready
for the day ahead: two pajama stands
to run in this city heat in closed spaces
following the pace of street market life.

Grandma deals with a bargaining housewife:
“$4 for the set? You can’t go lower?”
“It’s already only $6. Your children
need to keep warm.” She folds them, puts them

in a crinkly bag. Grandma’s such a boss,
full of energy, even at midday
when Mom and I meet her for late lunch:
off to a local joint for some beef balls,

long white noodles in bowls the size of my head,
add in some tripe, cheap, hearty Hong Kong eats.


Dorothy ChanDorothy Chan was a 2014 finalist for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship and a 2016 semi-finalist for The Word Works’ Washington Prize. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Blackbird, Plume, The Journal, Spillway, Little Patuxent Review, and The McNeese Review. Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart. She is the Assistant Editor of The Southeast Review.

Editor’s note: Lunch Ticket’s reading period for Issue 11 overlapped with NDR’s Annual Chapbook Contest. At the same time that these two sonnets were accepted for publication at Lunch Ticket, Dorothy’s “Chinatown Sonnets” chapbook was selected as NDR’s winner by guest judge Douglas Kearney.