Inviting My Father’s Spirit by Changming Yuan

Rarely did we get along, Dad, before

You gave us all up, and seldom

Did we even talk, so you never

Knew how I really felt about you

As a father, in particular, about your

Grooming habits: each time you

Returned from your office or trips

You skinned us off and washed all

Our clothes, sheets, towels, mops

Cleaning furniture (including

Every foot’s bottom), polishing

Lamp covers and cooking utensils

Though you often forgot to put them

Back in good and tidy order; true

I learned to love your cleanness

But never the way you were so busy

Doing all this like an old woman


Now you are taking a long break

Up there, (where everything is

Supposed to be perfectly clean); do

You enjoy watching me doing

Such things down here to keep

My home and heart both dust-free


Changming Yuan, 8-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman (2009) and Landscaping (2013), grew up in rural China and currently tutors in Vancouver, where he co-edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan and operates PP Press. Recently interviewed by [PANK] and World Poetry [CFRO100.5FM], Yuan’s poetry has appeared in Best Canadian Poetry (2009;12), BestNewPoemsOnline, London Magazine, Threepenny Review and 819 other publications across 28 countries.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: