a funeral

blessed with ashes©papa osmubal

blessed with ashes©papa osmubal

a funeral
hilda tam

1
compulsory party
not much notice

wooden fish* beaten
suona horns* blown
joss sticks
and candles burn

roasted pig’s head
apples and oranges
blessed with ashes

2
two paper dolls*
red-faced
stand by
under the smiling picture

white lanterns
hand written
red candles
lit within
red ink
tells how long a life

3
thousands
of paper ingots*
folded to please
the ghosts nearby

through the fire
dolls
villa
Rolls Royce
all down to hell

ashes in the air
receipts

4
under brocade cloths
banknotes
gold silver
and she sleeps in peace

the image before us
rots


* wooden fish are percussion instruments used to keep the rhythm during sutra chanting.
* the suona horn is a double-reed wind instrument with a flaring metal bell, used at weddings and funerals.
* paper dolls will be servants of the deceased in the afterlife.
* paper ingots are traditional money to burn for ancestors and ghosts.

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