Love to the allegory

     nursing among the nettles

the end as I dream it

    lucent in the bower

            Might I bow before

               my father bowing

            before his darkness

                       my heart a foam of iron

                    my hand for the time being

                       a rising peony

Might I seek every rapeseed

    in search of you

neither rain nor kab ntsig

    The world

in first translations

            I would have beaten my back

                a thousand years

            had it not been for the bird

            who loved my back

                for the ghost who crooned

            its way into the mouth

            of a bird that called me

                 daughter daughter


       & I learned to love the noise

   these songs of devotion

        clear as a garden for the field mouse

            mortared & pestled into soup

        my anger slain & whetted

        for the promise of more song

               Then in a dream came

                   a mighty ox tall & ailing

               as the sky his head in a pool

               of flies kneeling before me

                    & upon reaching to kiss

               his wide brown face his horns

               fell off into shadow where

                   he cried out my many names

               & the names of others

                       crying to forget our meeting

                    for every future sighting

         So I forgave the medley

     of his stars

          forgave the currents

                     of our paths

My goodness even now

    the moon in quarrel

            with her own complexion

            her tears in a storm

     of myrtles

my heart nesting just bones higher

     than the last open fire

sent out to return us

     Happy for this moment

these summons of the night

            Might I forage

            a moment longer

                  then fold

            in all that gloom

                                    a grub


                                    eating towards

                                  that umbral love

Song of the Dark Times

Khaty Xiong is the daughter of Hmong refugees from Laos. She is the author of Poor Anima (Apogee Press,
2015) and three poetry chapbooks: Ode to the Far Shore (Platypus Press, 2016), Deer Hour (New Michigan Press,2014), and Elegies (University of Montana, 2013). A MacDowell Colony fellow and a recipient of the Ohio Arts Council’s Individual  Excellence Award, her work has been published in POETRY, The New York Times, How Do I Begin?: A Hmong American Literary Anthology and elsewhere.