Two years after my grandfather’s death, we gather in the cemetery
!50!to burn. Not even five feet tall,
my grandfather made his living as a traveling bra salesman
!50!until the genocide. On the day of his death,
I snotted and sobbed my way through my college a cappella concert
!50!even though he was, in effect, a stranger
whom I probably never loved. At the cemetery in Ampenan,
!50!we lay offerings on his grave, fresh oranges and sweet cakes,
to invite him to feast. Soon, he will arrive to fill his big ghost belly
!50!while my family laughs and chatters in a language I don’t understand.
Inside the perfect miniature house, they have placed
!50!televisions, cars, stacks of money, even tiny paper servants,
to set aflame and send up to him in the afterlife
!50!so that he will live (or, rather, not live) like a king.
Does this mean that ghosts have capitalism too? I whisper to my partner
!50!who shrugs, unbothered. What do you think? I ask my grandfather
while we wait for midnight. He doesn’t answer, but I know that he is here
!50!by the way that the trees refuse to crack a smile.
The first flames lap up the foundation like a dog in the hot sun,
!50!shadows twisting faces into unfamiliar masks.
Someday, I will return to the cemetery
!50!or to the fire, animal instinct pulling me
towards the light. The house crumbles into ash like a body
!50!crumbles into ash.
What will be left, kakek, after everything has burned?