Khaty Xiong

Among the Goldenrods

!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!In array the omen—
hedged with cardinal flowers
!10!!10!the wild garden consulting
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!with a hare trap
the field stretched and buried
!10!!10!with deer droppings
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!some remorse
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!laid by limbs long gone—
penumbral—felled arms
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!of goldenrods
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!in this wake—the lineal dream
broken galls—parochial—ring-necked
!10!!10!pheasants sinking
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!in the open country—
oaks with sunlight slipping tongue
for tongue—a clearing marked
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!in the crop
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!of a chickadee—

!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!I pass—
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!keep passing—
!10!!10!some cause learned
enough to send
!10!!10!for the sun immobile
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!from the edge of winter—
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!love seething
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!in grounds before me—
the wind in a bow
!10!!10!above the black crown
cutting back to kiss me—
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!the long death
making pact with palms of flowers—
mother’s dead eye once more
!10!!10!frothing with nectar—
my hair birthing into serpents—
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!this very spring
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!returning to me
the idyllic ruin so watery I must forgive
the shores gathering at my feet—
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!the beginnings
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!of earth raised
in hills of fire—
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!the perennial hour
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!of hurried geese sliding storms
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!to cry home—
!10!!10!O wanton mother—
blade at the heel
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!come forth—

!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!At the mark of the hedgerow
I cut—make game of my neck—
!10!!10!make scar of the cardinal flower
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!the sky mute upon the tides—
!10!!10!five suns budding
!10!!10!inside my form—

!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!Such illumination—
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!moons unwilling—
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!mother’s fingers
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!mangled in metal
!10!!10!!10!!10!!10!from the stars—

​​Khaty Xiong is a Hmong American poet from Fresno, California. She is the author of the full-length poetry collection, Poor Anima (Apogee Press, 2015), and three poetry chapbooks: Ode to the Far Shore (Platypus Press, 2016), Deer Hour (New Michigan Press, 2014), and Elegies (University of Montana, 2013). Her work has been featured in Poetry, Gulf Coast, The Adroit Journal, Academy of American Poets, Poetry Society of America, The New York Times, and elsewhere. Xiong’s honors include a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, residencies at MacDowell, a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council, and two Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council. Currently, she is working on her second poetry collection, a series of pastoral elegies detailing her grief over the sudden loss of her mother.