Marilyn Chin

My grandpa was eighty    my grandma was twenty She cried for years    for the good life she was missing She faced the wall    until he finished his dying Then she polished his bones    for all of eternity  * Throw my girl into the river    she won’t drown Like her mother    and her mother’s mother Stubborn reed    hollow at both ends She’ll whistle and hum    and float into dawn  * The man from Worcester    wants to eat my sister He bends her backward    coats her in rice-flour Pinches her corners    calls her “sweet dumpling” Fries her in deep oil    then serves her on porcelain  * His lovero

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From “Nocturnes”

Beautiful moon     the murderer begins to sing     The thief takes off his mask     to smell     the heliotrope A junkie steals asters from a rich man’s grave     And spreads them     on the modest mound of his mother A lone girl walks with moonlit haste     in the shadow of     the maquiladoras * Pol Pot sleeps     counting heaven’s lambs     His ex-wife is learning ikebana * A pretty boy dances naked in a cage Twelve or thirteen     he is brown and slender He sings     My father sold me to the hillside wolves For a snort of the white dragon * The sky does not judge     it’s black and starle

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