in the Year of the Rat
His family turned the supermarket parking lot stall
into an altar, lavished it with stalks of quince buds
and peach blossoms inside a bird of paradise vase––
for growth and for luck, for love and for life.
In front of his high school graduation photo,
they plated mandarin oranges for wealth and longevity,
lit batches of incense in an auspicious red bowl
for the journey of the faithful.
Someone else had already turned the parking lot stall
into a shooting gallery. Someone else made his bones
doming this number one son and maybe running off
to tag tunnel walls, or maybe getting a Wah Ching
eagle claw tattoo, maybe doing donuts
in a highway sideshow––all his nunchucks and guns
aimed at the heavens and missing the mark.
—Appears in the book by the author, Landings.
Andrena Zawinski’s third and most recent poetry collection is Landings from Kelsay Books. Her poems have received accolades for free verse, form, lyricism, spirituality, social concern and have appeared in Progressive Magazine, Verse Daily, Rattle, Nimrod, Comstock Review, Aeolian Harp, and others. Veteran teacher of writing and feminist activist, she founded and runs the San Francisco Bay Area Women’s Poetry Salon and is Features Editor at PoetryMagazine.com.