New Cold War

Some days are stretched so taut it feels like changing might break us.
Nowhere to go, we walk woodland paths between neighborhoods,
On and on for as long as we can bear the bone-hollow cold,
Through the trees, glancing at homes. Lawn, deck, siding. Repeat.
The ashes have shed all their leaves, while the maples cling to the last frail reds.
Stark persimmons, ember studded, have been plundered by foxes
Who leave behind nothing but trails of dense-seeded scat.
My palms upward cupped, I wait for something to fall, waiting
As another pale afternoon too quickly shades to dusk.
We feed the baby bitter melon, flower pepper, bloodroot beet:
Flavors of our distant homelands. When will he know
Their humid peopled heat or see the midnight sun’s red core?
Overhead the sky is impassive, a canvas or a shroud.
This nation, a rent, a great tear-shaped tear through which a clawed menagerie
Crows, magpies, and wild geese off to winter somewhere, not here. Look,
Every day is a chance to hurtle from the warm burrow of ourselves—ragged
Breath, body raging—to count our dead, abolish borders, close the prisons, give
The land. There are no euphemisms for violence worth believing, in this homeland
    or that.
The first snow comes in January, fresh gauze over an old wound.
The persimmon only ripens after the first freeze.

Read on. . .

More by Grace H. Zhou, “Home Is a Verb of Motion