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Fate reincarnated you as a doll: “This is the path to Nirvana, after the world of children”—
I find you now at the end on a dump, your skull with a pencil piercing the right eyeball.

The young learn too soon that attachment brings grief. They teach you life is shit,
but you smile as they push you into the grass and scratch off your lips.

All around you, wrappers. The flies suddenly erupt from their tin-foil nest.
There is no meat.

I ask, Where will you live now, the past or the future?
You answer, Neither.

The Woman with Leaves for Hands

Nowadays, my father’s mind comes and goes as the wind.

During last night’s rain, he watched the maple leaves turning
from beneath the eaves and thought my mother was passing through.

All night, the leaves turned, weaving themselves into arms,
weaving until the woman he once loved and the tree, shaking
before him, were one. He named her name, then waited.

He still believes in the silk of her voice.
“It comes and goes as the wind,” he said, that characterful wind.

What should I have done? It was not the foggy cold
I was afraid of, nor the strangers staring at him from the road.

No. It was the mind repeating itself out of hope—
a mind that inhabits the same metaphor over and over,
populating the earth with talking winds and talking trees.

In my mind tonight, my mother lies below the grass,
too tired to speak. Her limbs are not maple. They do not move at all.

Rosanna Oh has had her essays and poetry appear in Best New Poets, Unsplendid, 32 Poems, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. She lives and writes in New York.

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