Ecostation for Disposal and Recycling

by Jane Lin

The shrink wrap on the Happy Lantern
split open, nine years on a bedroom door knob.
The Whistling Flower sat intact, a squat
triangular box. The man in the booth
said he'd hold them for Hazardous Waste
though the sign read No Fireworks.

I was feeling the alternate universe—
the fountaining sparks, the screaming
as something streamed, burned away.
American alternative to red chains
of firecrackers, rapid rat-a-tat to scatter
spirits from a wedding.

I handed them over, disposed of at last,
their use wrong in the weeks after 9/11, wrong
in the drought years that followed. The gown
right, groom, guests—only three fearful of flying.
And the spirits? An ordinary allotment
of luck and misfortune in our marriage

but for my mother, the intersection
of our married lives measured in visits, calls.
Even in childhood there are unknown hours
passed between Mother and Father. He says,
"When our first was born, her sisters
could not come to help, and I did not ask

my family. I thought, She is strong."
He dwells in that place outside our knowledge,
speaks her name in a voice I never knew,
to the urn's fragment spirit that remembers
while the rest cycles to the next life
improved, having suffered, burned away.

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