Patrick Kelly

Chinese Mourners, Brides, Moby Dick and Me

	In China, white is the color of mourning.
	Old women ride down river on the funeral boat,
	their white gowns fluttering.
	Here, brides wear white.
	Moby Dick is white.
	Chinese women wail in mourning.
	Moby Dick is a whale all day.
	I have read Moby Dick, bored and baffled
	by it's plodding pace.
	The mourning, wailing women do not read,
	bored and baffled by the plodding funeral.
	Brides have readings at their weddings.
	Moby Dick does not read.
	He is a whale.
	A white whale.
	White, like a bride's gown.
	She does not mourn nor wail.
	Nor go whaling.
	I am white.
	I am a Chinese mourner at a wedding:
	on a slow boat grieving the happiest day of my life
	with a mammoth, ambiguous, misunderstood
	literary symbol.
	The hyacinth girl shaves my armpits.