This late summer afternoon
the surface water shines
platinum pure metal.
The sky goes pale with it.
Just a burnished sheen
not a ruffle plain song.
So unlike my grandmother
or my mother’s homemade
A-line dresses bunched
and puckered at the back.
The aroma of degradation lingers everywhere.
They line up like a row of would-be murderers,
angular, forbidding, the light jagged
on their bent features.
February’s nearly over: on wheel-rutted fallows
the snow’s last dirty traces and the bare trees,
the look pure American. Daylight ends
with a stab in both eyes.
On Reading the English translation of selected poems of Du Mu, by David Young and Jiann I. Lin
Once a solid jue ju block
now the air runs through them
Eugene O’Connor’s poetry and translations have appeared in various magazines and anthologies, including Avocet, Classical Bulletin, Roman Poets of the Early Empire (Penguin), and The Columbia Anthology of Gay Literature. His chapbook, Derelict Mansions (Pudding House Press), appeared in 2011. He is managing editor and acquiring editor in classics at The Ohio State University Press in Columbus.