Water Year

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The chicken fevered
witchery in his forearm and
the dead counter
when its neck
snapped cold.
He ran a slit
at the throat and held
the thing
up gushing clean into the bowl,
then waited through the trickling.
He was not a meticulous man,
but in the murderous room
of the old year
he flitted like a prodigy:
depluming fowl,
mastering stock,
taming greens and rough cuts,
presiding over esters and acids,
texture, profundity, and consonance,
improbable shaman,
beckoner of bliss and plentitude.

Here was a man
with not
a first love,
a first kiss,
a first fight,
or a first ejaculation to porn,
whose mother roams a country unuttered,
whose father never died again,
whose story came like
summer aspersions
and went,
who loved by incident and
uncertain proxies,
and spoke through abstention
midsize terrors.
How broad his
love was she?
Whose spirit was sharper
than death
and always more adamant.

In the new moon year
hope was all eaten,
dreams sent ashen,
and the thickened slaughter was
slivered into
searing oil aside minces of garlic
and ginger,
chives, sugar, and black soy.
Five dangled over the steam of
it and rice,
and drew in the slabbed curdle:
it was crisp,
then tender,
and fumed of savagery,
bellowing autumn and earth,
metal and sky,
fire and time,

and water —
water from the world’s innards,
water memory-steeped,
water that suckled a child of war,
water that compassed a grandfather’s love,
water that kissed the gleeful heads
of babes marauding the camp
in the monsoon spell,
water that lorded the face of murderers,
water that assuaged the unburied fields,
water that fell colored in the exodus,
water that bled a mother’s distance,
water that whispered in the mango tree
strangling the house of Chams,
water that passed his hands —
wearing the violence of that year
and all the years
and the rage of a people,
water of invention,
water of utterance,
water of forgiveness,
water of recension,
water of persistance.

more by JUN HUA EA

Photograph by JUN HUA EA

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