At night, from the nearby street
the stink of burning books
presses in through the window,
finds the pleats of Grandmother’s dark skirt,
twists round her hands
as she slowly turns her prayer beads.
It stares at the baby’s cradle.
Pockets emptied out of moon and stars,
it has crept all the way up to
the white chrysanthemums, the clock on the wall,
to our empty plates,
all the way up to Grandmother’s stories –
a mouth of smoke and ashes.