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my mother watches her mother’s funeral footage again

By Wo Chan

She closed the doors
and then the blinds
and then her face, midday.
Everything there
swollen, perennial
the VHS
cassette of her mother
at once entering
and leaving the earth.

Who could have steered into this poverty?
Who could have steered.

In the video she spots herself
   wailing, clutching dirt,
   throwing earth back to stone.      

and she is there, teeth mad,
   bowed before an altar spread
   wide: ash heap, cows'
   blood, pigs' feet,
   tangerines filed in rows.

and she is not there.
   A dot climbs a mountain
   to put her mother away.

A child with child’s fingers
ties twine into a mother’s hair.
Yarn lost in the black glean

which grays when she unknots it, at last.
she redshot, eyes staring past this quiet America
   digs from her closet her oldest
   fur coat: green, emerges beaming
   and clothed in a new cut of sorrow.

Added: Thursday, March 16, 2017  /  Used with permission.
Wo Chan
Photo by Jocelyn Yan.

Wo Chan is a poet, writer, and drag performer. Wo holds honors from Kundiman, Lambda Literary, Millay Colony of the Arts, and the Asian American Writers Workshop, and is the author of the chaplet ORDER THE WORLD, MOM (Belladonna Press, 2016). Wo has performed their work at NY Live Art, Dixon Place, BAM Fisher, VOX Populi, and the Architectural Digest Expo. Wo is a standing member of the Brooklyn-based drag & burlesque alliance Switch n' Play.

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