Following the Chinese Girl

to look, again, at her lips—pinked and mysterious
and to look at her gray eyes through her glasses.
(She waved at me and I waved back.)
Even though she is majoring in Finance,
she never heard the expression bean counter
which I, laughing, explained to her—
well, you see, the beans represent other things,

and to listen to her speak, carefully choosing
her words so I have to be quiet, to wait
for her sentence finding its pebbled way. And
I like the quiet because I adore
watching her lips and her eyes,

and I can’t tell if she knows I am a little bit
in love with her. I would never tell her this,
partly because neither of our languages
have the right words for a little bit in love. She might ask
“How much?” or “How many beans in love?”

and partly because I don’t believe in being
just a little bit in love. I am a little bit of many things—
a little bit lonely, a little bit impulsive, a little bit quiet
because the right words always skitter away, but

perhaps someone knows how to express these feelings—
to say how sometimes a little bit can be a lot—
someone like the Ukrainian girl studying Romance Languages
who has been following me from a safe distance
for days.

Lee Kisling is a recent graduate of Hamline University in St Paul, Minnesota. In December 2013, his poetry chapbook The Lemon Bars of Parnassus was published by Parallel Press in Madison, Wisconsin. He lives in Wisconsin.