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No Han Left Behind

She grips a cup so hard it breaks and the heads  / rise all at once, “She’s here!”

Poetry | Poetry Tuesday, poetry
January 24, 2023

They say when a man walks in
to a kitchen his dick 
falls right off. This 
is how my mother became a woman.
Her dick was pickled for the ritual
of a stranger’s family the first 
time she made cheesecake.
Grandma was on a detox diet
when she died. The spinach detoxed 
the life out of her. That year 
the women spent all 
chuseok morning grinding 
greens in the mixer to welcome 
Grandma to the ancestral rites.
A debutant in the society of the dead.
The first dance is hers, of course,
but still it seems unfair that we should cater 
to the youngest, the freshly dead.
I stood behind when the men bowed and played 
whack-a-mole on their bobbing 
balding heads with a mace but in real
life I was a corpse with my hands neatly stacked 
on my crotch. The ghost of my grandma walks out 
the wall and leaning on each head
like a chain of canes or duck duck goose
she reaches the table with the bowls of greens,
she falls to the floor, “Even when I am dead…”
She grips a cup so hard it breaks and the heads 
rise all at once, “She’s here!”
but she’s already gone. Mom jumps in
to where grandma collapsed, her bare 
hands slashing through the pieces and the redder
the better though no one tells her.
In my dreams I hand 
the women a bowl of greens to hit.
We sit on bean bags and listen
to Crying Nut on the breezy porch.
My great-great-greats,
how bout some roll cake?
How bout tongues?