Two storms

A Golden Shovel poem, after Fu Hsuan


Grief follows like thunder,
crossing the channel. An army
of prayers salt my father’s heart.

While the grand organ trembles
we throw damp confetti,
give the occasion a lift.


The evening is balmy,
blanketed by thunderhead.

Restless, my brother rises from
his bedclothes to bathe.

On a pale clod of pillow
hairs stray like shorthand…

The corridor clatters. Listen.
He stammers before an unknown it.

He flashes a torch, trying to force metamorphosis.
Who is his visitor? What is it not?

An owl. The kind you might spy in an encyclopaedia
riding the crossbar of the first chariot.

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