All Saints

My eyes burned in the thick incense
rising from mildewed vases
on old cement graves.

During Mass, I stood beside mother,
staring at the small black-and-white, oval portraits
of my grandparents,
wondering if I should mimic their smiles.

The priest's prayers echoed from afar.
In the distance, the west was ablaze,
birds rose and tumbled in the sky.

There's sadness here, I thought,
feeling the wings of a grasshopper
scratching the inside of my toes.
I looked down to see him
jump into a hole in the soil,
a flash of green
in the newly cut grass.

Tien Tran