Wednesday 5 May 2021

3 Poems by Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang


Light pulls at the curtains with unsteady fingers,
the palsied hand of the morning after,
the bleary-eyed denial of dreams.

Morning with its small cries,
open-mouthed birds, the day
and its rattling hunger.

Shake out your dreams,
the hours you spent dead.
The baby is up, your nightgown dripping
with milk.

Leave-taking is this:
cleave yourself in two
what’s left is like love,
a heavy slumber, a blind bed-warmth
a half remembered ache
you tow behind you,
leaving a wake in the day.

Women who cry when they drive
"I held you for days in my heart, dear sad woman in the dark green Volvo"
--Sue Goyette

Haven't we all done it? Legions of women driving and weeping, alone
in that slim space of peace between where you were and where you'll be,

or who and what. And it's that road hum, I think, the tuneless breath of comfort
that reminds of us of our mothers, our backs bared to them, their hands soaping and

throats humming in the way that their whole bodies once did, for us,
the music of their rushing blood and breath, before we could know desire,

so complete were we then. And now, my friend, now on the long of the 115,
slender pines bathed in the tepid light of fall, passing them so that they drop

from view like needles, and my father ahead, wrapped in blankets, his bones
drying like kindling, the split sound of cancer, driving home to clean the gutters,

rake the leaves, bundle the logs into neat packages against the brick, cords
of wood unraveling into the fire.

Great Day for Ducks

A yellow slip of a day,
sunlight cocked at a jaunty angle,
the ducks mooning
us as we walk.

Headstands underwater, and
all summer my daughter
has demanded my feet in the air,
the waddled walk of hands
over thick mud, seaweed.

Now wind whips the first
leaves off the trees, a burlesque
of maples throwing us their
caterpillar-laced underwear.

How fine we are!
Tossing our youth into the air,
watching it fall,
like brittle leaves,
all around us.


Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang is the author of the poetry books Status Update (2013), which was nominated for the Pat Lowther Award and the Gerald Lampert award winning Sweet Devilry (2011). Her new book, Grappling Hook, is forthcoming with Palimpsest Press. She has been widely anthologized in such collections as Best Canadian Poetry 2013, Poet-to-Poet (2013), and the Newborn Anthology (2014). She is the editor of the poetry collection, Desperately Seeking Susans (2013) and the Poetry Editor for Arc Poetry Magazine. Sarah currently works as the Director of English Communications for Poetry In Voice.

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