Poetry

Jean–Luc, Future Ghost

She was going to be named Jean–Luc but she was not going to join the fleet. Instead, she’d build the first starship to take us out of this galaxy; we’d test this simulation with cardboard boxes in the yard —the adventures would end with peanut cookies, lepat pisang, and steamed chive dumplings as a reward […]

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Blue Flowers: Fragments

Aconitum (Monkshood) The wolves came down from the mountains that year and we dipped our arrows in poison brewed from monkshood root and went hunting in the forest. We’d hang a bleeding sheep from a tree and conceal ourselves upwind. We killed by starlight. As soon as the creature was wounded, we’d follow its trail […]

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The Long Run

Don’t run ahead she said stay beside me run when I run walk when I walk But I ran ahead because it was easier and when I looked back I could not see her She was so angry that I ran ahead but perhaps she feared that night was coming She knows I will run […]

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Rose Child

Wandering among the roses in my garden, I found a child, only five inches tall, under a Madam Hardy. She was standing on mulch, leaning against one of the rose canes. I bent down to look at her, and she looked back fearlessly. She was lean and brown, dressed in a dormouse skin, cleverly sewn […]

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The Ghost Marriage

Even these days, dusting the piano while the icebox hums smoothly in the afternoon, you find your ghost husband sleeping on the sofa, a lanky drink of bourbon in the old brown suit he rolled out of bed in both your lifetimes ago. He touches the keys to the tune in your memory, leaves the […]

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肉骨茶 (Meat Bone Tea)

for Jaymee Goh Star anise floats in the night–sea of meat bone tea, backed by the cloud–flower shapes of lingusticum. Astragalus, codonopsis, and licorice lashed into a raft drift among goji berries swimming like vermillion carp. Angelica and polygonatum swirl petal–soft as blossoms; dioscorea bobs and forms the white sands of a riverbank. Bulbs of […]

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Phaya Nak Goes to the West

I have known eons among celestials The way you have known a second. I have stretched from the rains of Draco To the banks of the dreaming Mekong. I was there when a son of the Shakya Flowered into bright Tathagata, Breaking the cycles of Samsara. I watched my wisest daughter journey To your young […]

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The Persecution of Witches

Tell me what ‘legitimate’ means— how much proof do I need to convince you that blood is blood and bruises are bruises? Why is my voice a casualty of violence you won’t examine? Did I say no? Was I drunk? What was I wearing? A better question: why is my body not my body? Here […]

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Good Neighbors

My neighbors are good people. My neighbors know how to find monsters in the dark. They have welcomed me to the neighborhood. John Sinclair, my neighbor, asked me what I think about witches. He asked over a glass of wine the color of a moon drowned in a creek. I drowned the wine with more […]

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