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.
A row of trees
on a clear January day.
Winter has rendered
exposing their smooth trunks
and uncomplicated branches.
On my way to the station
I study their pattern,
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.