by Jane Lin
Summer Day in March
The frog pond dark with decomposing leaves, algae sliming
the undersides of rocks, last year's lily stems and iris leaves,
the black plastic lining underneath. One by one
the green-black heads rise to the surface, glide to a dead man's float
or pop as they kick up then clamber on the mesh of thin dried stalks
bent down from winter. Those seated emit a ruh or an urh
meaning present and accounted for or she's still watching.
For all their urping charms, small kicks we mimic, I do not trust them.
My sister witnessed one fellow, a cavernous mouth rose up
and swallowed him. I have seen giants in midsummer,
bigger than my hand. They regard the pond as I do, from above,
on a rock, as the others leap, dive down below flat drifts of fungus
the color of earthworms.
For this I can sit in the sun and write,
stand the crocuses, tulips, cherry blossoms, while the paper reports
a boy strangled with shoelaces and plastic wrap, “a soft kid.
You couldn't play rough with him.” Two boys in a jail cell
for shooting their classmates. The widow in the widow's city
of Vrindavan, impoverished and scorned her long life, claiming
whatever happens to us happens, what's the use of thinking.
Their Hands Go So High
Shelf plates slide, strike-slip.
Seabed heaves, hurls
a wave to slam continents,
The workers, masked, tire
of the salt-washed bodies
to be shelved. Amidst the rubble
a girl from a family, a village
Of the house, the stove remains.
Debris from the ocean's retire,
the dank smell of gone.
The girl stocks nothing
on the shattered shelf.
And the boy who clung to the shelf
in the drowning train is cradled
in the lap of his father, mother
and sisters gone like castles
Jane Lin is a poet and a software engineer for an environmental consulting company. Her debut poetry collection Day of Clean Brightness was published by 3: A Taos Press this year. Born and raised on Long Island, NY to parents from Taiwan, she is a Kundiman Fellow and now resides in Northern New Mexico.