Poetry / December 2016 (Issue 34)

The Cemetery at Fengang

by Marc Anthony

First you see the broken earth
Along the road discarded ash
Some broken urns and shattered glass
And from the sea the cosmic breath
Sends a chill down through your bones
Welcome to the cemetery at Fengang

Welcome to the cemetery at Fengang
This hopeless land of blackened earth
Burnt trees jut out like jaunty bones
The paths are strewn with stones and ash
The heated wind suspends your breath
The broken sun explodes in shattered glass

A silver strait, a sea of glass
Lies below beyond the grasp of Fengang
You sweep and clean the dirt and ash
From family tombs, this place on earth
Where no one speaks, bereft of breath
All that’s left are names and bones

And in this place where sticks are bones
And water is just like glass
The wind supplants the need for breath
Welcome to the cemetery at Fengang.
Now bow and bless the God of Earth
Whose realm includes this dirt and ash

Who rules the flesh that’s turned to ash.
You disinter and clean the bones
Sifting sorting through the earth
Take care, avoid the broken glass.
Welcome to the cemetery at Fengang
You rest for now and catch your breath.

A prayer is said in whispered breath
The offered incense burns to ash
You set back down the road to Fengang
You leave behind your father’s bones
A Taiwan Beer, his favorite glass
Reminding him of life on earth

And though you leave the ash and earth and broken glass
You feel it in your bones, the sigh of cosmic breath
Calling you back to the cemetery at Fengang
 Marc Anthony is a writer in Taiwan where he teaches writing at National Taiwan University. When he is not writing manuals in sprung rhythms and editing scientific journal articles into mythopoetic narratives, he is writing short stories and poetry. He is honored to be a graduate of Vermont College in Montpellier, where he was mentored by Tom Absher, Ricky Gard Diamond and Margaret Blanchard. Prior to that, he spent several years in Paris exploring writing with his beloved writing coach, Kathleen Spivack, to whom he is eternally indebted.
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