for Grandma

I clasp her hands in mine
They’re cold
Not like ice, nor like silver
But cold like the wind that takes
A bite

My chest aches under its teeth

What is more radiant than the sun?
I remember
How the wind knelt to your smile
How the sky bowed to your arms
I remember

She sits, hunched over her prune juice
But she can’t hear me.

She takes a breath
The way the sun retracts its hands
She takes a sip
The way the sun dips its fingertips

But when I call
She watches the wall
The way the sun buries behind clouds
And when I ask her to remember
She stares and blinks
The way the sun flickers before the storm

And seeing the wrinkles on her face
I see the rain as it snuffs the rays
And hearing her cough
Breath caught on time’s belt
I see the sun shake behind the hurricane

I remember the way she saved
White chocolates wrapped in gold
I remember the way she prayed
To 上帝(God) at her bedside

When I see her now
Shadow clamped to her flickering throat
When I hear her crackling voice
Clouds swallowing her once-gleaming eyes

I can’t.
My eyes burn watching her
Watching the sun
Is like tasting the tea when know it’ll scathe
Like holding the snow when you know it’ll melt
Like stroking the bee when you know it’ll sting
Like letting love cut deeper. When you sink in its arms

So I can’t. Please, I can’t.

But I look out the window
To find her in her garden
She shines faintly
But brighter than any star

Night is coming
I know.

When it wraps its wings in flight
The sun will bow to its feathers
Plunge into darkness
I know.

When night takes its throne
Shoves the sun from the sky,
It will fall.
I know.

But yesterday Grandma smiled
And for a second
The sky glimmered blue

Yesterday Grandma held my hands
And the clouds parted by light

Yesterday Grandma kissed my cheeks
And the sun peered through.

And today
I clasp her hands
Hold her wrinkles in my fingers
Trace her gray hairs by my knuckles

And tomorrow
Night will come
To swallow the sun whole

But there’s something beautiful
Even as my throat tightens
My hands tremble
And my eyes wet

There’s something beautiful
About watching the sun

Even as it sets.

A Grove of Guava Trees

I had hoped to feel some sense of her spirit, her presence— but there was nothing there.

how to bleed a ghost

the problem with bodies is that they’re just too fragile. even something as bold as a ribcage can be crushed into tiny stars, bones magnified into gritty ash.