Poetry / March 2016 (Issue 31)

Two Adaptations from Kenneth Rexroth's 100 Poems from the Chinese

by DeWitt Clinton

On Returning to the River's Edge to Find My Wife's
Lost Tooth, I Wait with Mei Yao Ch'en's "Next Door"

All the neighbours we've ever
Known have died or moved so
It's not as easy to just cross back
Yards, say come on over anytime.
To the south the old professor
Laid quietly for almost eight
Whole days before a cousin
Thought of even showing up.
The new owner built a new
Wall between the two of us.
Across the street all the widows
Are buried or left in contempt
For husbands out on the lam.
To the north every month
The sign invites all who walk
By come live here, upstairs.
We know all the dogs quite well.

After an Early March Run Along the Lakefront I Snack
On Honeydew with Mei Yao Ch'en's "Melon Girl"

Thank goodness I don't have to sell poems
At the market. By late afternoon, an old woman
whispers, buys the whole basket. I walk home
happy with two fish heads, and a melon.
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