By | 15 May 2023

East Wind

The gate is locked. A woman
exits the house, and we enter.
My grandmother takes her seat
at the table: her braceleted arms
intersect the others’ as they churn the tiles
ceaselessly, dry seas breaking over papered felt.

South Wind

She pulls a tile and runs her thumb
along its underside, across its carved
indentations. In a single swift motion,
she discards it. Her eyes search for the key.
When it finally arrives, her fingers insert the tile
into the gapped row; she calls out pung! and wins.

West Wind

The week he dies, my grandmother gives up
mahjong for a year. Her friends are bereft:
an empty space, a missing place. She lies in bed,
unsleeping, hearing his voice in every room.
Forty years of arguments, six children, nine
grandchildren—a pyre, ashes, and a stone memorial.

North Wind

I watched as my grandmother rose from the bed
and went to the bathroom without closing the door.
Lately, she has taken to stripping off and wandering
the apartment, naked. Some days, she remembers who I am.
Other days, she counts only the names of the dead. Nearly
endgame. Her final round. The clacking of the cold jade tiles—

This entry was posted in 109: NO THEME 12 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Related work:

Comments are closed.