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A Night in the Lutheran Garden

A Night in the Lutheran Garden

By Deborah Wong

I spray and clean Dad’s black and white photo
with the Bethlehem’s Holy Water in bottle
his former prize possession, untouchable
even when Mom’s cleaning the cabinet, or
me, reaching for the olive wooden crucifix,
but now I’ve got a confession to make,
glad to visit Sweet O’ Dad’s columbarium
on the Halloween’s eve night, just because
Dad had lost the grip to empower my life,
I’m free to binge-watch Netflix all day,
blasting K-Pop music as my national anthem,
wondering how’d his soul living in solitude
inside a porcelain urn, on the niche wall,
and, he had always hated 31st October,
Michael Myers’s overrated skin mask,
the adorably big-ass Jack O’ Lantern’s grin,
pumpkin spiced Latte, and pumpkin cookies;
now, I serve pumpkin curry with chickpeas,
pumpkin mochi, and Mom’s pumpkin baos
as a bonding tool to bring forth both worlds.

Dim streetlights across the lonely freeway,
flipping Dad’s mahjong dices for decision,
hope the meals achieve his expectation,
cold wind rustles with howling pack of dogs,
Eustachian tube popping pressure symptom,
I’ve beaten vertigo but never in tinnitus,
crickets chirping, stridulating Amazing Grace,
maggots drilling in and out from the earth,
devouring on corpses’ passed rigor mortises,
a half-eaten pumpkin mochi left on the bowl,
a man’s gold teeth grills inlaid with decays,
praising the dough’s tanginess and glacé,
advises me not to get into heavy sleep debt,
I leave only the pumpkin mochi behind, in case
Dad haunts and destroys my dream later. There,
a new tombstone engraved ‘Fearsome Teddy’,
awaken by revolting knockings at the window,
the man wants to hitch a ride to downtown,
refuses to miss the Halloween countdown,
I ask for his name. “Theodore,” says he.

About the Author

© 2020, Deborah Wong

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