blackbirdonline journalSpring 2010  Vol. 9  No. 1
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History Filled In

I never knew snow, this cold that burns.
Cold with a thickness of braided hair
or a man’s hand. I am leaving my mother’s town

now that her bones have been sent back to Heng-Ha
to anchor her ghost. In her town, men stand
like they have no place to stand, and women
cannot look at their foreign children.

I carry out the last of the house: eight red
door tassels and a tin of greasy silver dollars.
New telephone wires dip to grins under ropes of ice.

I have inherited, too, my mother’s hatred of the cold.
On the path to the car, my footprints are filled
as soon as I leave them, as if the snow,
like winter’s sod, sprouts to swallow them.

Soon there is no trace of where I began
to leave, where I turned back,
where I began again without starting over.  end

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