Back to Issue Twenty-One.




Adamant     incessant     the snow and I     refuse to calm tonight

specks flit     splinter like the living     who seek each other

then disengage     not conquest     but gentle repetitions

falling apart     back to the ground     as one     requires no sounds

no different from my father     reaching out to the dead

spreading     paper tributes for his father     in the shape of blooms

gilded squares in orange frames     faux notes tossed to the underworld

bright chrysanthemum     curled     blunt spears seared

whatever they want     he said and stoked     the flame in the barrel

cinder surging     I knew I was born with this fright in me

this fascination with the settlement of everything     holds me down

and when I trudge     down the ever-deepening path     holes open

wide mouths waiting to be filled     but what can I give

down there     even the embers are cold     white     inviting



bold stare



for Catherine Barnett

Never mind Mars or whatever is bright on the fringe
of our solar system,

they are too far—gas, ice and rocks that matter
only to our desire to know the unknowable.

They might be bigger than a child’s imagination
or small enough to be fixed,

linear on a canvas, maculate, let dry, scraped flat.

That impulse in Cézanne
to watch objects settle on a tablecloth unscathed.

There’s an end to a still-life—
when the green apples go red,

when the knife and the milk pot
float away, or seem to.

The moment you see that, you know they’ll move, again, somewhere.


Marco Yan is a Hong Kong-born poet whose work appears or is forthcoming in the MarginsFolioBreakwater Review, the Louisville Review, and more. He currently lives in Hong Kong.

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