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beyond year

in three weeks time
she will travel
cushioned on air
back to the land of her birth
back to honor the dead
this time there is less sorrow
with four seasons passing,
she has gathered strength and spirit
woven a soft covering for worn shoulders
steady recovery
one month more marks
the first slim year
native tongue lagging
a medicine shop lacking its head
a daughter, motherless
(i do not know how that feels)
but she'd rather not speak of it,
those last few still moon nights
days spent coaxing baby steps
life is indeed full circle
when the daughter becomes the mother
becomes the gentle hands of comfort
but there is no question of breaking
this respect
the aged have a status
even when partially paralyzed
unlike this country
which discards its grandparents
like an useless pair of shoes
scuffed dirty and smelling of feet
we cage our own blood and say
it's in their best interest
my mother once joked:
"when i get old, you and your sisters
will dump me in one of those
tired houses"
she asked my cousin if she could
go live with her
i guess she wasn't joking after all
in three weeks,
she will be preparing her body
and more
one year has introduced a transition
time for mourning turns to celebration
reliving the dead
and she should know,
she should know
that this celebration is also for her,
the eldest daughter,
the one who took care of a-ma
for those long draining days
nights spent restless and awake
full circle: a daughter's filial love
transplanted her back home again
this is one tradition i do not want to break

Chia-Ti Chiu is a Taiwanese American performance poet and teaching artist. She has created and produced ZOAR: Asian American Awareness and Empowerment and the upcoming one woman show r e t u r n * poetry in three movements. She has performed and been featured at theatres and collegesaround the Northeast and at New York City hotspots such as the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, A Gathering of the Tribes, Bluestockings Womens Cafe, and 13 Bar/Lounge. She was a Nuyorican Slam Finalist last season. Chia-Ti has been published in Dark Phrases, Rising (UK), and in the upcoming Tribes Magazine.


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