Poetry / October 2017 (Issue 37)

Mulian (After Ocean Vuong)

by Min Lim

Like any good daughter, I guide my mother out
of the grave, palm to open rib, fingers to hull

of ear, her breasts ripening into cabbage-patch
the rain rushes to fill. She's stiff. The temple

of her body is now a temple for moss.
Wind has scythed the joss. I lie beside her

to see how far our likeness goes. Not far,
still vegetarian. Soon she will resemble

any other paddy. I could till her feet.
I could carry her on my knees. Still angry,

My arm responds
in self-defence: palm to open chest,

press. No use. Murder has strained her
into thinking a scarecrow can help

how it's dressed. I plow into her femur.
I think of the strawmen I have sown

against her sundried figure. Unavoidable—
how moss overstays; how wind chimes for passage.
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