Pui Ying Wong ~ Three Poems

SCULPTURE COURTYARD

The sun came out and dried
the grass. I sat under a tree,
eat­ing an apple. “Time to be healed”
the poet wrote. Stillness around me.
Language of met­al and clay,
mal­leable as mem­o­ry.
Cities were far.
Not much there I remem­bered.
September was only hint­ed at
by a few falling leaves.
Still, I didn’t know about silence.
Silence between stars
and silence in time’s deep caves.
I was like the cop­pery fig­ure before me.
Earthbound, yet tilt­ing
as if toward a great enig­ma.

~

POSTCARD FROM THE ARTIST RESIDENCY

Sluggish after lunch. Wish we could take long walks
Without wor­ry­ing about cars going by at heart-hurt­ing speed.
Speaking of lunch. Wish it’s not the oft-rein­car­nat­ed chick­ens
From poach to stir-fry to today’s casse­role.
Wish we could avoid small talk and the need to be tak­en seri­ous­ly.
Wish you were here. Wish you could see the room where I write, often to you, my only.
Love the sparse fur­nish­ing and how lit­tle is need­ed.
Love see­ing names of pre­vi­ous occu­pants on the door frame.
There is faith in this. Two win­dows are about right—
We are onto October. A touch of damp.

~

THE WALK

A row of trees
on a clear January day.
Winter has ren­dered

them leaf­less,
expos­ing their smooth trunks
and uncom­pli­cat­ed branch­es.

On my way to the sta­tion
I study their pat­tern,
a sym­me­try

in con­trast to my own thoughts
which on this morn­ing
are strands of form­less­ness.

The trees’ pres­ence
puts me at ease
but unlike friends, they ask

noth­ing of me,
not even a smile. It’s more like
see­ing a man’s fate picked clean,

leav­ing him noth­ing to give
except a greet­ing in pass­ing,
soft as a wisp of blue.

~

Pui Ying Wong was born in Hong Kong. She is the author of two full-length books of poet­ry: An Emigrant’s Winter (Glass Lyre Press, 2016) and Yellow Plum Season (New York Quarterly Books, 2010)—along with two chap­books. She won a 2017 Pushcart Prize. Her poems have been pub­lished in Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Plume Poetry Journal, New Letters, Atlanta Review, The New York Times, The Southampton Review, among oth­ers. She lives in Cambridge, MA with her hus­band, the poet Tim Suermondt.