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Others call it     fog.
Others         follow the fragmented trace
pooling around ankles, anchors         trapped inland           dread.
Others turn to the scalpel for release        (every mirror inhabited by phantom)
Fog       in between elements      and my fathers voice
traveling the surface of each limbo                  collision
sound and water        wave against wave:      ghosts, he says,
there         in the streetlamps of Inner Empire
treading their miracle up into the haze.

Others give it borders                 halos of time and space
I      spaced        my clues                gave each one the chance to confess
Still they hid in each others omissions       (a provinces thick broth
mother lunacy           Protestant shoreline traced over Mongolia
series of erotic tumors                           schizophrenic aftermath
the hex of the lunar calendar                         dialect and birdsong
all mispronounced then forgotten then: this smell of fog
like a crease crushed into the cartography of memory)
Still the coordinates of the place I longed for retreated from me
as lovers retreat into unidentical delusions.

No others      no-place
what to do but hoard the remaining solaces
in the smooth directional throat of the wayward that must arrive,
forgiving obscurities    mist
memories of petrichor          porridge      morning routine
You ask me                          and I answer
my hope and my horror are equally absolute

 

 

 

Cathy Guo is the recipient of the River of Words Grand Prize in Poetry and is currently working on a cross-genre chapbook project funded by Columbia University that incorporates both oral history and poetry on memory, landscape and diaspora. She has run out of credentials to list for the next sixty words, but is immensely grateful to have been published alongside some of her literary icons. She will try to keep asking the right questions.

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