“The past is forever with me, and I remember it all.”
— Nien Ching, Life and Death in Shanghai
One wonders how she rises—how we rise—
under the weight of it. Or bear the cost
of wholeness, as its burden multiplies
on end — to let no memory be lost,
no loss betrayed, no pain swiftly erased.
A wonder, how each leaden block of life
can be absorbed without a solid trace
into the human form. Ruin and grief
collapse inside us like great failing stars,
dark matter, dense and undetectable,
an inward spinning of the universe
that holds us at our core — still capable,
still moving on, skirting a dark that bends
and warps all light, on which all light depends.
This sonnet first appeared in Cumberland Poetry Review, Vol. XXII, No.2, 2003.