the rice in his plastic lunchbox,
he ate it all. seasoned by
overnight soy sauce, the off-putting burnt
white marked him like the typhoon mud
on hand-me-downs as he walked along
coins in his pockets, worn.
He wished he had pork, actual slices, you know.
by the temple he saw the hazy white from the incense,
believed to spread the words of the village sage
and Buddha, Mahāyāna is the way:
Until death there is nothing enough,
the temple-goers would say,
but he is a temple-goer of a different breed:
He will live even if he dies trying.
so he lives his truth,
in literature against the white backdrop
and in print, in formulas:
his white coat with a name badge:
Yang Sheng Lin.