Furniture dies. Empty now,
This bookcase was my father’s.
Boswell. Dickens. Shakespeare.
I put my grandson’s shoes
On it and the Mao cap
He clutches like a totem.
Just now he points to things
Not because he wants them
But to know the names of them.
Cap. Shoes. Bookcase.
Furniture comes alive.
Pickwick. Puck. My father.
(from the collection The Chorus of Birds)
Act of Will
Great-grandfather would make his mark, an X,
And someone else would have to write his name.
He comes to me, Will Ling, through an act of sex,
Two bodies tangling that’s no cause for shame,
The only issue how their son, a carpenter,
My mother’s father, now provides a frame
For me to make my mark by juggling letters,
Though others may put an X against my name.
John Drew has lived on both sides of the Himalayas.