Poem of the Week

Postmemory

Jenny Xie

                       We take on the names of the deceased, give them new voices.
                   
        – Celina Su


Struggles we had
a name for and those
for which we didn’t.

Some matted
from one
generation
to the next.

Occasionally we
were released
from one
struggle though
we didn’t
detect it.



-




Everything carried
vertically
from north
to south
south becoming
north
and down.


The past moves like this—

The body, too, like this—




-





All the bodies
we take
on over
lifetimes
descending
into harder
rock


bitten fingers
stranger aches.




-




Growing is forgetting
and creation is
discreation
with a new head
at the fore


where the most
aggressive eyes
grow.




-





All this gaining
and letting go
honed along
the sharpest edges
of this life’s perimeter.




-




Surely
someone standing
to make a profit.





-



Nature reuses
plotlines
not wanting
to waste
a thing.



And so we get sewn
back into
our origins.

The deeper
textures.

Jenny Xie is the author of Eye Level, recipient of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, and finalist for the National Book Award, as well as of The Rupture Tense. She lives in New York City.
Originally published:
April 20, 2022

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