Every poem an elegy,
Each moment of breath is a debt owed the dead.
To live is to die longing to hold and behold the face
Of the mystery that brought us here.
O, Holy: what keeps us here.
Somewhere, years ago, I ate dirt.
Somehow I forgot this dark.
I forgot beginnings. Who recalls
the Earth’s birth? Years go on.
We become ruins, dust—oblivion.
The first brothers’ wisdom was to kill.
Soil the ground with blood. First breath
taken. Is this blood a curse? I ate it. . . .
Rather than a Chinatown, it looks like a rundown street where a few Chinese have dropped anchor, orphans of imperial dragons, thousand-year-old recipes, and mysteries.
—Rafael Bernal, The Mongolian Conspiracy