the fear of dying
has been put away
like a heavy coat
we no longer want to wear
orange poppies will erupt
in ecstasy across weary
expectant fields
but our grandmothers
will stand unyielding
shouting to us in Cantonese
to carry that heavy coat
to see beyond spring
to ready yourself
for the perennial white ghost
that will say I was here first
I am the gold mountain


All the lines – in my hands,
along my legs, between my brow –
redden, remembering.

The weight spread unevenly
across the length of me –
quite short.

Here a little bit of my mom,
carved with a butter knife,
here my father, a scalpel
calm and precise.

They multiply and deepen
the longer I am here.

We were too cold to know then.

Stacked shoulder to shoulder
on green linoleum seats
wondering when we would arrive.

The volume of voices
young and irreverent
calling and rising
from the small sliver
of open window allowed
on this old school bus.

This would be the last
journey together
not again,
for a long time.