Letter to Ba From Ancestral Tomb in Jiangxi Province

By | 15 May 2023

Just as I have confessed to you time after time,
I am not grieving for granite & soil.
Three characters, no epitaph. A century
of mothers & fathers slung across your shoulders &
I am not grieving, because given enough time,
are not all ghosts wished into darkness?
Should their spirits not scatter, set out for dawn?
I can ask you to tell me about strength,
have you nose through the scrapbooks & archives
to wring stories out of scribbles. Right now,
though, it is not enough for me to pull the weeds &
bow again & again at the ground. I have done all I can—
found myself in the mirror, imagined our faces
repeating themselves like a question. For so long
I have trudged & stumbled, dragging my feet
after you. In Jiangxi, the moss grows
from one year into the next—I imagine
it stammers, failing to find warmth from stone,
the shapes of which eventually fall into vanishing point.

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