Ghost Buffet

We haven't set out food and drink
on the counter for a while: make-

shift altar but with no picture of
wizened ancestors, no joss sticks or

candles, no perfect globes of gleaming
fruit in a wicker basket. But even if

there's only a shot glass full of water,
a spoonful of rice and a postage stamp-

sized piece of cake, it's understood
that such an offering translates as feast

for all our dead. Years pass, and so
their number multiplies: grandparents,

parents, aunts, in-laws. And sometimes now
I wonder if they jostle for space around

the plate, if someone tells them to fall
in line. Whether they pick up morsels

delicately with their fingers, or wish
someone remembered to lay out silverware.

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