Do you know what its like to die?
Imagine a Chinese daughter asking her father this.
No. Just gone, not here anymore, I suppose.
Father replied, accepting
once again the un-Chineseness
nourished by his lifes decisions.
And so we made the crossing.
I tried to talk about death:
Knowledge acquired at second hand
From a string of namesSegel,
Klubber-Rose, Book of Living and Dying
Youd know them if youve travelled
This way with someone you loved.
Youd have been just as certain
About the truth their every word told.
Then it was his turn.
He talked about the funeral:
No religious ceremonies, just something
Simple and dignified
Like your grandmas years ago.
A large hall in the funeral parlor, but not the largest;
Obituaries in two papersnamed them both.
Youll wear black, of course, not the Chinese white.
We both smiled at the unthinkable thought
Of us in a white wailing paper-money burning funeral.
We spoke in snatches, two conspirators
Plotting in the intimate semi-darkness
Enveloping the hospital room
When the nurse was out of hearing.