Echoes of Trees on the
by Yun Wang
It started with echoes in the dark hall.
I floated on waves of Father’s baritone
in the boat that was his arms.
I had measles, screamed.
Father carried me off at midnight
rocked me, chanted poems.
I grew up dreaming of drunken poets
heroes who died laughing
ruined palaces, the distant sea.
I squinted to see things.
To cure it Mother fed me shark liver pills
made me sit outside on a tall stool
to count trees on the Mountain.
I knew all the trees on the Mountain.
A king and three daughters. Warriors in armor.
Blind beggars standing with one leg.
The teachers’ handwriting on the blackboard
shimmers of silver fish in a dark pool.
I squinted more. No one noticed.
Mother was ashamed of Father
locked up for what he had written.
Called many names by the other children
I stopped counting the trees, hid
in dark corners to read books.
by Yun Wang
The sea sweeps her white-lace trim
teases the land.
Starlings swarm into the air:
a twisting stair of black velvet.
Someone set fire to forests in Australia.
People burned to death in their cars.
I shut off the radio
try to remember the dolphins.
The sea: fluidity of sleep.
Twilight waves polish
the mirror of sand.
Someone wore explosives under an abaya
entered a tent full of women and children.
I shut off the television
try to count tiny green tea leaves.
The sea erodes the land.
The land sips the sea.
Dark waves pulse
against a veil of starlight.
I ride a lone dolphin
away from the invisible shore.
by Yun Wang
Yellow silver fish sparkle
near the pond’s bottom.
You count them
feel their tails brushing
gently against your thighs.
Your body remembers.
Stray light on a black river
floating shadows of swans.
Touch the fish without
disturbing their course.
They are leaving
water, to swim in air.
Fishtails electrify your fingertips.
You feel the storm coming.
This selection of poems is from Yun Wang’s manuscript, The
Imaginary Cat. Her first poetry book, titled The Book of Jade,
won the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize from Story Line Press and
was published in 2002. Her poetry chapbook, titled The Carp,
was published by Bull Thistle Press in 1994, and individual poems
have been published in numerous literary journals including the
Kenyon Review, Green Mountains Review, International
Quarterly, and Poet Lore.
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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary
Volume 4, Number 2
Copyright © 2009
by Leah Browning, Editor.
All future rights to material
published in the Apple
Valley Review are retained
by the individual authors
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