OBIT [The Priest]

The Priest—died on August 3, 2015. As
he  died, he  cursed.   When  the  priest
first    started    coming,    he    left    a
watermark  on  the  door.     As  time
passed, my mother’s door was riddled
with bullets from his fist.    He started
sending  me  prayers  with  his  eyes.  I
didn’t want his prayers.  I had too many
selves  for  God  to save.   None  of  my
selves knew how to say sorry.  None of
my selves knew each other.  I wonder if
my  mother  took  God  in  towards  the
end?  The way she had once cared for
her  fifty  bonsai  plants  each  morning,
snipping      gently,      adjusting      tiny
sprinklers,  beckoning  them  with  her
breath.    The bonsai barely responded,
had never asked to be limited.  She said
the priest was weird,  would look at her
in a creepy way.  As if he knew she was
not  a  believer,  but  a  refugee.   When
she    arrived    in    this    country,    they
painted   over   her   skin.    Her   fungal
toes only looked like roots.

Copyright © 2018 by Victoria Chang. Originally published in Georgia Review. Used with the permission of the poet.