The Lamps

Hua Xi

Winter shares a door with forgetting.

Handfuls of cold slip just through.

I try to tell my mother goodbye

just in case.

Suffering articulates

a stone well.

But where does illness end?

Or does it form one corner with love.

Orange snow in the mornings

pours a new shape for rising.

A room opens and closes

in the cold shape of a walnut.

I cannot see how many lamps.

But it goes

as far as wishing.

A fox asleep in the painting.

A jug by the bed.

How much of life is taken up

by the vast body of death.

One day, everything is time

and I walk through a knife

cutting the mound in half.

Eventually, I am no longer

so afraid.

I have draped a new dream

over the entrance.

Hua Xi is a poet and artist. She is currently a Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford. Her poems have appeared in The Nation, The New Republic, The Atlantic, and elsewhere. She has won the Boston Review Poetry Contest and the Eavan Boland Emerging Poet Award.
Originally published:
June 10, 2024


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