A Brief Respite

My dream catcher is wary
hanging motionless
from the rear view mirror
no relief in sight

I can’t breathe can’t open the door
can’t put my hands at ease
can’t forget who you are and
who you think I could be

Tonight the grieving
weary from the weeping
exhale only once in celebration
tomorrow there will be more

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.