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11 December 2007 

The Burning

“…I’ve lived without names…”

-Stephen Kuusisto

Off a seashore in Russia I run, laughing

at the mystery of movement in the form

of water, laughing at my father with sand

on his face who will one day die.

Or imagine for a minute a locomotive

full of people, rocking with the motion

of a vintage sorrow, head bowing as if

time has beaten them. In my winter season

I think of monks in Penang who sit without

sound for weeks. How they live inside silence.

The silence is alive. The ringing of a bell

is an intricate acorn; my soul hits the ground

when it falls. The apple for all its perfection

will never change. The seed I swallow fashions

a knot in my throat, the fiber of the peel winds

like a staircase leading me down. I look

at my teeth-marks in fruit, in flesh

like a message, an erotic code deciphered

by tearing and biting down. I want to keep

this braille, this transcript of my soul:

My body is a vessel of wanting.

My body is a vessel of fury.

My body is a vessel of apology.

I am the thread & the damage the thread made after the mending.

I am the god I don’t know & the fire that burns with no fuel.

tina chang