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 the poetry collections The Rupture Tense and Eye Level, a recipient of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, and a finalist for the National Book Award. She lives in New York City.
Originally published:
April 20, 2022

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