“The ritual, known in some parts of China as a ghost wedding, is intended to provide both dead partners with someone to accompany them in the afterlife.”

Canals gray as ash
Otto Frank returns home
after his long night.
Shiny wool pants, a GI’s gift,
cascade over his ankles,
bunch at his waist.
Tufts of lint in his pocket
his daughter’s dowry.

The empty trains come back.
Suitors shuffle down Damrak.
A babel of “I do’s”
chorus over the cobblestones,
send pigeons flapping
above the heads of mothers
who stand silently
fingering the buttons of their cloth coats.