Xuyong

village in Sichuan, China
 
1.
My grandfather’s grave is carpeted
with snails. They leave weeping trails of purple,
ink prints against the hard clay.
Earlier, in a Daoist temple,
 
I saw a bat for the first time
in the jubilance of day, swooping
from rafter to roof tile
chewing the mug of insects
engulfed in sky.
 
2.
In the late mountain air,
red candle wax collected
and hardened into beads
 
as I knelt, immersed in incense.
 
3.
I was thinking,
I will invite all the bats, lizards,
snails, spiders, tiny birds and caterpillars
to my grave, where they will
shed their skins and build nests with my hair and
lay eggs in the humid soil
right against my cheek.
 
We traipse back down the mountain
and drink tea happy and thinking of death.
 
4.
On the boat, I drop bamboo leaves in the green river
where they float like a child
on the surface of becoming.