—Kathy Kieth, Diamond Springs, CA
San Jose is a big town: lots of people die
here, and the cemetery full of mossy markers
goes on for blocks. Time on my hands, I
pull in, pass giddy palm trees and patient
evergreens as they arch over graves covered
in plastic roses, pinwheels, party balloons, clouds
of woodsy incense, candles huddled under
an angel’s wing. One woman
in pink slacks pushes her white hair back
with one hand while she clips long stems
into short, making a tidy bunch to fit the rusty
can sunk in the grass. I don’t look for
my relatives, but settle down deep into some
daisies on the lawn and watch the Sunday families
come and go, all of us with plenty of time to kill. . .
On the way home, I get caught up in the Chinese
New Year’s parade: my car slowly snakes between
a smoky red-orange-green dragon and a truck-
load of rowdy teens, who throw firecrackers
when the policeman’s back is turned.
Gung hay fat choy! one of them calls over to me—
Watch out for the dragon!