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
, and Poet Lore.

Previous page    Apple Valley Review, Fall 2009     Next page
Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 4, Number 2
(Fall 2009)

Copyright © 2009
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.
The Aggregate of Routines