(for Po Chü-i)
Dear old soul, ailing Tang dynasty
friend, sun lost and found among passing clouds
like a child glimpsed in a river
of overcoats. Your diminished brightness
lets me look like a child
upon nakedness. I’ll always remember this
as the autumn I pulled a thousand acorns
out of my year-old’s mouth.
Fingers numb as willow shoots, you say.
I prefer think of mine as a statuary
of blood. It’s hard for me too, imagining
myself with terminal cancer,
which is why I make it my mantra, glioblastoma,
glioblastoma, the way you do dharma.
But there are worse demons to be left with
than poetry. Hovering around zero.
Snow’s supposed to fall as temperatures rise.
Even when I write down my dreams
on the toilet at midnight, they dissolve
like snowflakes in the cradle
flat of my hand.