Issue > Poetry
Karen An-hwei Lee

Karen An-hwei Lee

Karen An-hwei Lee is the author of Phyla of Joy (Tupelo Press, 2012), Ardor (Tupelo Press, 2008) and In Medias Res (Sarabande Books, 2004), winner of the Norma Farber First Book Award. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant, she lives and teaches in greater Los Angeles. She earned an M.F.A. from Brown University and a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley.

At The Garden Of Divinity

Don't put down flowers.
Grave-keepers and gardeners toss them

                    in the morning after rain,
says the mortician's daughter.

Flowers are swept
as keepers clean the graves.

A blind woman asks
            for the name of a rough bag—
hickory nuts, whole pecans, cedar chips.

A ruck sack, I say           obituaries
strong and woolly:
             death is in the wool.

Wish this body were your foe,

Who are the two angels
gliding over the threshold?      Two death angels:

We are here to take out the trash.

Who is the garbage—  
my soul or this life,
         divinely charged
                       to love one's enemies?


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