Letter to Ba From Ancestral Tomb in Jiangxi Province
Just as I have confessed to you time after time,
I am not grieving for granite & soil.
Three characters, no epitaph. A century
of mothers & fathers slung across your shoulders &
I am not grieving, because given enough time,
are not all ghosts wished into darkness?
Should their spirits not scatter, set out for dawn?
I can ask you to tell me about strength,
have you nose through the scrapbooks & archives
to wring stories out of scribbles. Right now,
though, it is not enough for me to pull the weeds &
bow again & again at the ground. I have done all I can—
found myself in the mirror, imagined our faces
repeating themselves like a question. For so long
I have trudged & stumbled, dragging my feet
after you. In Jiangxi, the moss grows
from one year into the next—I imagine
it stammers, failing to find warmth from stone,
the shapes of which eventually fall into vanishing point.
Journey to the West
Based on the Chinese myth of the Monkey King.
Mountain. My body pressed under.
In the dark I hungered for a life
beyond all the topography. Unwieldy gestures
on a crinkled map—I shrugged
these ripples off and hoisted myself up.
Because no one else was coming,
then, I crowded into a band of vagrants
headed to where waves would arrive
and depart. We wandered with mist
tracing our eyes, sweat pierced
by rapiers of light. This was what each day
made us—travelers that wrung out the faith
between each step and trudge. And
several hundred miles away, the mountain
continued to command its place, watching
me and my relentless wanting:
I smelled the salt of another country,
the sediment that would dry for my wounds.