They Call You Totoro

Katie Salisbury

You like Asian things. I like you: 
the boy and his grumpy cat 
eating noodles in pork-fat soup, 
watching Naruto and Dragon Ball Z. 
Maybe you even had a thing for a young Bruce Lee. 

There’s always some Asian girl 
commenting on your IG. Yeah, I unfollowed 
that feed, but I can’t help but creep. 
You claim it’s not a fetish, the azns just kling— 
to what you call—a David-thing. 

But does she know? 
Does she know they call you Totoro? 

When I look at you, I see what I should look like 
in the mirror. Dark hair, almond eyes, 
inscrutable face. If only I knew what you 
were thinking, why things have to be this way, 
‘cause I’m just wishing I could call you bae. 

You used to blow up on my cell phone. 
LOLcats, Doge, memes I still don’t comprehend. 
And all those fapping GIFs, phone facedown at work, 
masturbation jokes for days. Skater boy, 
I thought you were only a passing phase. 

9,000 texts between you and me. 
9,000 texts don’t mean anything. 

Sometimes you’d call me up at 5 am, like 
you think you’re The Weeknd, saying babe, 
come see me. Angry, compliant, 
the morning after we both try to point blame. 
It’s true, I am not ashamed. 

Asians never say I love you. Neither do you. 
So I’ll come clean and admit it—I do. 
But I’m no fool. I’ve seen the pics of you and your ex, 
reminders of a relationship we never had. 
How sad is that. 

They don’t know you like I do. 
They don’t call you Totoro. 

Remember the time we sat by the carousel? 
Windswept hair and orange lipstick 
were the only things between us, that 
and eyes staring too deeply averted to the water below. 
Oh how slow. 

I fantasize that one day you’ll see me 
on the platform at Broadway-Lafayette, 
reading a book, no care in the world. Maybe I’ll look up, 
see you standing there across the tracks. 
Will we meet again, stars orbiting each other in parallax? 

Most of the time, I just don’t know. 
             I’ll call you