Poetry / September 2014 (Issue 25)

Two Poems

by Marco Yan


Stuck on the wall, a receipt from a second-hand bookstore—
its bug-bitten corners curling inward to touch

the address in block letters, the price inked with random
digits and the barcode stagnant in the middle, all

faded so consistently with traces of that book
and its singular purpose, where it came from and where

it went become insignificant. Still the slip is a solid
proof of a flash in summer, that small human moment

when I approached the shelf to pick a beloved title
for a student in my English class. I wasn't aware of the way

I slid my slow finger along its erect spine,
how I accidentally dabbed my fluid on the pink flyleaf

as I flipped through a story. I might have closed my eyes
smoothing the voluptuous arcs formed on a page by water

blotches from way back when. I might have rubbed my palm
against its back cover, my heat lingered, spread.

After all, it was a gift which led us to nothing
more, much like this crime,

now blurred, and still blurring.


When I drift off in my room I'm rowing the boat that defies
my oars' motions. The search for land begins with artifacts
floating like buoys in quiet corners. In no particular order,
the pen I used to twirl in the past levitates on the desk
like a toothpick in a bowl of water, misused by ancient travelers
who looked for north, a collage of photographed faces hoists
a pillar of signposts, arrows pointing everywhere, and there
the carved wrinkles spread on my forearm shine like a map.
I remember the ink, thinking where the treasure will be.
How strange, when the boat crashes to a green lagoon,
what were so dear to me gone like shards of a star,
I'm content with loss, with the marks it leaves behind
on the soaked blue sand, close to the shapes of my naked feet,
so I walk on, believing it is the way back home.
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ISSN 1999-5032
All poems, stories and other contributions copyright to their respective authors unless otherwise noted.