Having Said I Would Never Speak to the Dead

Jane Lin


Mother, are there gods in your afterlife?
You raised us without them,
the Guan Yin statue appearing on the mantle later.

Catechism in the Friday pizza line:
                                                            What religion are you?
The choices being Christmas or Hanukkah,
the neighborhood fifty-fifty.
                                                            Christian, I said,
knowing how the orange-tipped branch fit
the orange hole in the pretend tree.
Knowing the savor of latkes from the Fried's
as something slightly more other.

Periphery shadows as I drive. Light
passing through me, light bending.
Are you particle and wave? If I decide
there are no saints, no goddesses of mercy, will you—
If there is nothing to remember before birth, will death—

There is a place holy for my husband, of arches, red rock, sand.
I tried to feel it when I went there.
                                                            Holy as in close to—