Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry
Issue 1 | June 2010

Jai Arun Ravine

dern, 1

At some time not yet come, Gaw sinks her feet into mud. She is wearing her mother’s face, eye lids drooped to curtain the storm. It is raining. She is walking in the rain. Heels splash arcs of mud. The ache, fon. Rain becomes a verb, the result rubbing against her skin. Water soaked long in her bones. Tendons congealing like cold noodles. Spores wedged between her knuckles. Mold growing on her hands. It is dark. Sight blurred. The light occurring east blushes rose behind indigo ridges, sunken.

Her mother’s face is somewhere ashen, tinted slack, far behind anything that could be excavated. Her cheek is frayed against the fabric of her dress, running up the wooden steps ago. There is only sadness in seeing her picture, in knowing her eyes can only be painted upon her own as mask. O. Her mouth opens—this is what she has carried, the dying wail displaced on the morning her ankles began to learn the temperature of departure, the calculation of wade, when her toes had given name.

As her heel hits the ground \din/, the edges of her feet find her mother’s jaw. Where she would salivate from nam prik and fish sauce, the sinew under gum. Hooked ajar, all the millions of teeth that taught how to chew with the mouth closed. Heel to toe, stretching like a tongue, falling between an amphitheater of enamel. Her toes peel through the nasal cavity, set beneath the ocular caves that held her mother’s stare. Don’t. How large they had been when she left her, smoke tearing the retina, the world reversing itself as airplanes lay siege.