Empress Dowager Boogies

Last night I found my face below
the water in my cupped hands.

The mask made of copper and bone
criss-crossing to make a smirk,

a false glamour, a plated glaze.
I unwound myself from the heavy

machinery of my body's burden.
The lute, the light, chime.
I'll get up and partner myself
with music, the purple moon

peeling itself like a plum.
Men stand in a circle and

they will ask and ask again.
I want to pick the thick bud,

to lose myself in the body's posture
bending in or away, to let

my majesty and birthright go
and gesture toward a waking life.

Tina Chang, "Empress Dowager Boogies" from Of Gods & Strangers. Copyright © 2011 by Tina Chang.  Reprinted by permission of Four Way Books.
Source: Of Gods & Strangers (Four Way Books, 2011)
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