Pui Ying Wong – Five Poems


In Order

Words like wearied ants
return to the page’s anthill.
They are parked for the night.

When the lamp is switched off
they twitch again. They fight
for order, single file

or crossover, even
before they are born.
They accuse each other

( of being vain,
easy and cynical.)

They want to be the royal first
or the last if the last is built
like a Lamborghini. Between

the lines a lump of dirt,
as if dropped there casually
in order to conceal a near-dead

Whereto Is Not The Question

Traffic whirs, it is the sound
of leaving. Five days before July 4th

and the clouds roll, almost rain.
Bombs went off in Istanbul yesterday.

Not long before it was Brussels, Paris.
Don’t say Orlando lest you also say

San Bernardino, Aurora, Killeen, Blacksburg,
Binghamton, Newtown…

Let us catch the train. Let us not be late.
Someone else will finish the dinner.

Britain voted to leave the E.U.
Trump says Great and Sanders cries Wake Up!

A downpour is imminent, so many
windshield wipers going all at once.

More Changing Weather

Drizzle and mad flies,
the kind of day that curls
like a dozy animal,

the city a little muted
like a sketch.

The underground station
has re-opened, light
and the dolphins
play on the mural. Easy

to love the world
in its innocence
despite the dictator

who is soft spoken
but wears small, flashy suits.

Once, A Key

It was about a room
curtains drawn
so there was nothing to see
except his face his eyes

you had never been so close
to another human being
were you thinking about love

To every universe there is
a lost key
now the door is ajar

in between the bodies
a chasm
where light all the world of it
tries to fill

The Dogs

The oarsman says a tycoon
bought that rock of an island
for the dogs he adopted,
letting them run wild as wild dogs will.
The villagers brought them in
after their own children
beat them with sticks.
The dogs howl whenever a boat nears.
Who knows what they see from the top:
lovers, stowaways or someone without hope.
Some nights even the moon
is blue with rage and scrawny trees
blow like a torturer’s fists.
Maybe the sun drains color
off their eyes, maybe they want
their food coarse and dirty.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

The kind of beauty we are talking about is not skin-deep or merely ornamental. It is the kind that not only draws our attention, but something so satisfying that we want more of.  It is somewhat like love, something we know but is hard to explain. And like love it is authentic. In poetry its presence wakes and inspires, without it the poem suffers. We live in an increasingly distracted world. Our attention span diminished. But a world without beauty is a bleak world.

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 has poems published and forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, Atlanta Review, The Southampton Review, Plume Poetry Journal, The New York Times among others. She is a book reviewer for Cervena Barva Press in Somerville, MA. She lives in Cambridge, MA with her husband, the poet Tim Suermondt.