By Cathy Park Hong
There, garland dandelions round that idol
with a corn husk face &  beard
patched with rat stubble from a barber’s dust pan,

parade float driven by a carriage pulled by a pig.
Two sticks knotted together,
cake frost on that crude wood to make it gilt.

There, spider cranks &  iron gyres,
blueberry stain glass sprout
like wings from coal burn cars,

a trumpet toots the sorrow of another boy dead,
there he is, limp on a gurney wrapped in gingham scrap,
there, he’s blast.

There, roofless houses,
sarong utopias balloon, balloon toward the sky,
while women beat, beat their skulls.

I trail behind, mop in hand,
sloshing scum water over memorials.
There he stares at my tic-torn cankered face,

&  begs for alms, his face horse rudder red.
A son, he huffs, it is a son I want.
I spit into them corned mitt hands.

Source: Poetry (May 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the May 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2008
 Cathy Park Hong


Cathy Park Hong is the author of Translating Mo'um, (Hanging Loose Press, 2002); Dance Dance Revolution (W.W. Norton, 2007), winner of the Barnard New Women Poets Prize; and Engine Empire (W.W. Norton, 2012). She is the recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the NEA, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her writing on politics and her reviews have appeared in the Village Voice, the Guardian, Salon, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Social Commentaries, Class

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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