JQ Zheng

The Queen and Three Kings

   after the pic­ture by W. and D. Downey 

Queen Victoria was seat­ed, her eyes low­ered at lit­tle David sleep­ing in a lace robe on her lap, while Bertie and George stood behind her—a four gen­er­a­tion pho­to­graph. Later she wrote to her daugh­ter, Germany ’s Empress: “It seems that it has nev­er hap­pened in this Country that there should be three direct Heirs as well as the Sovereign is alive.”

hot noon
a lit­tle boy asks his dad
for a fried pop­si­cle====

Momentary Stay

Finally I fin­ished typ­ing the required report due by 5 p.m. and emailed it to the dean. Stretching my legs in the arm­chair and mov­ing my head back and forth and left to right, I tried to force out my migraine that clung like a leech to the left of my head. I closed my eyes for a moment, then mum­bled, Get up and go home.

bluish sky—
a star
in and out


Two Stars

   after the pic­ture by Ruth Harriet Louise

In Flesh and the Devil, Garbo and Gilbert lie on a couch. Her left arm wraps his head like pro­tect­ing a vase, and he mur­murs “Fleka” onto her crim­son lips unfurl­ing into two cres­cent moons. Years lat­er, see­ing Gilbert in the street, Garbo uttered to a friend: “Gott, I won­der what I ever saw in him. I guess he was pretty.”

a feel of distance
from both


JQ Zheng teach­es at Mississippi Valley State University. He edits Poetry South, Valley Voices, and Journal of Ethnic American Literature.