Pey Oh

 

 

Yama, King of the Dead, has a guest in Purgatory

 

I assigned her
an ordinary guest room
in the hallway of Hell,
all right?

It’s a big place,
and there are many
staircases.

The Jade Emperor
decreed it –

One august guest,
disheveled from battle,
bearing one executioner’s karma.

Made out like it was
some child astray,
a feather for the
Scales of Judgment.

Kuan Yin puts
all measures
out of alignment
with her
jasmine
and lotuses,
peonies
and chrysanthemums.

Give me that
nose wrinkling musk
of the tiger anytime,
she’s gone and bathed him
with radiance.
He should be ashamed.

Look at that beast
lying on his back
at her feet.
A whore cat.
She’s destroying
my house, bit by bit.

What’s all this leading to?

I know we are all
waiting on delivery:
of this Peach of Immortality,
her way out
of my dismal kingdom.

How much longer?

Corridor by corridor,
dead trees
burst into leaf.

Her compassionate presence
stokes a furnace
of memory:
heads I’ve detached
with my bare hands,
iron tang of blood
drunk from skulls of men.

I had a near escape
from holiness
when I was a hermit in
a shadowed cave;
my attainment
interrupted
by fool thieves
just as I was
reaching for the light.

Wrath,
powerful and free
broke out from me,
drained breath
out of everything
in that labyrinth.

So here I rule now.
I will not change.

There shall be
no transformation in me.

Is that a butterfly in the stairwell?

I go devour it,
especially with
those delectable storms
under its wings.

 

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Pey Oh is a poet from Malaysia. Flarestack Poetry has published her pamphlet Pictograph in the UK where she resides. Her writing has appeared in Harana, Asian Cha, Long Poem Magazine, Bare Fiction Magazine and Magma.


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