November 1, 2010 Verse Daily
Web Weekly Feature
The Day of Qu Yuan Drowning
They’re dotting eyes on the dragon boats.
They’re sniffing orchid pouches and balancing raw eggs.
Among blue fish and red cobbles, have you found the word
you’ll say again and again till the water turns to cloud?
My father teaches me to make zongzi,
wrapping rice, date-hearted, in a bamboo leaf.
The grasses by the river cast shadows on one another.
Your long sleeves are filled with antitheses.
Your one hundred and seventy questions crowd the water.
The clean-nailed diviner shakes out bamboo slips;
you see them fall.
Is that enough?
Or freckles on an elder’s hand, star chart
on the fifth day of the fifth moon, gods in twilight?
I’ve been beautiful for you.
The bamboo slips are the last things my eyes made.
I’ve loved myself. I’m no longer hungry.
We throw zongzi in the river so that fish won’t eat you,
our loved one.
The river wraps you tight.
Your stomach calls pure, pure.
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