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From the Chinese

I wore white to the funeral—

It would’ve made mama proud:

“Obedient Chinese daughter,

Is it true that in my shroud


Where I am looking down upon

Your silent careless weepings,

I’ve been bereft of all I gave?

Be remembrant while I’m sleeping—


Start a household. Marry somebody.

Our recollections intertwine;

What will the girl do now?— The fear

That will be yours but once was mine.”


Earth forbids my mother’s knowing

Glance above unto my heaving

Heart—forbids the circumstantial

Blotch of mundane dirt bereaving


Both my petticoat and mama—

If she knew. She doesn’t. She’s dead.

The crypt sealed on her painted face

And lowered into a dirt bed


While I stood looking, wearing white,

A guilty brush of salt which fell

Not from mourning, but from my cheek

Into heaven or over hell.


The mineral purified her

While its weightless grain persisted

Like a milligram of nothing

Slowly oozing, queerly misted.


It will offer as much relief

As a dead person can feel.



Last night I dreamed a dream of grief:

Hours after the burial,


The thunder and rain were dancing

On her grass grave. A lightning flash

Liquified the dirt crust—fingers

Leapt like a baubling rash


And rose above the angerless

Ground into sleet-corroded sky.

My mother was wearing my dress—

A zombie covered in me, gone.

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