"Ceremony at Seng Wong Beo" by Doug Fuller

Doug Fuller

Doug Fuller

Doug Fuller is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he is also the lead audio editor of Blackbird. He lives in Richmond, VA where he plays guitar and lap-steel in the local band The Kindling Kind. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Mead, Bodega, and Monongahela Review.

Ceremony at Seng Wong Beo

Because the rules in Hell permit only the married to eat
at the table, the altar is now adorned with gifts
of folded paper: a car, a house, a bed, two figurines
positioned in prayer. Because a bloodline is always
in danger, the dead appeal to the living. I read the dreams
and cast the lots. I conduct a marriage of ghosts.

Because the spirits of children and the unmarried
may only eat beneath the table, I gather what they have left
in dresser drawers, in notebooks, secrets entrusted
to brothers and sisters, place them one beside the other
like portraits on the mantels of their parents.
They are together now, I tell the family,
and we turn to light the gifts on fire.