Resorting to the Last of the Four Gentlemen
read by kate conover
“Plucking chrysanthemums under the eastern hedge, I calmly view the southern hills”
-- Tao Yuanming
Hardy garden cultivar, far from your Chinese roots, how I root for you to do your
stuff, like Puff the Magic Dragon in a land called Honah Lee. Please release the
inflammation in my left hip, my right knee. As I drink of you twice daily, once in
wine and once in tea, I’m reminded of your brother, the plum blossom; his promises,
his lies, his majesty. His ume juice doing nothing for my ailments, the flesh of his
fruit bruising my weak teeth. And damn your other brother bamboo, too, whose manna’s
meant for pandas, not for me. The third one, orchid sort of helped when bone cells
first revolted. But surrendered seven months in, went to weeds. So now it’s down to
you and me and doubt. Your daring petals stemware toward my mouth -- a thousand
swallows followed by the buzz of one done bee.
The Unfortunate Daughter of Troubled Sleep
read by kate conover
A goddess toting lotuses casts petals on the shoreline, but golden monkeys see to
their consumption. The cranes have all retired to finer islands. Five mountains
slump like little distant nightcaps. The yellow river hasn’t spilled narcissus in
some years, has suddenly gone hush; is sinking inward. You wish to find your way by
sailing skyward, but there are certain trips one cannot chart by moon or star. A
turtle stirs the reedy shore to ripples. Sea grasses grab the ankles of your oars --
a gush and then a gasp and then the water’s surface lurches, above your head.
You’re dead. Your soul bloats, beaches.
K.R. Copeland is a frequently published Chigagoland poet slash Pushcart nominee. She is the author of one poetry chapbook, “Anatomically Correct”, published by Dancing Girl Press. K.R. has scads of credits in print and net journals as well as work forthcoming in Canary and Rosebud. She is the co-editor of Sea Stories, the online literary journal of the Blue Ocean Institute, a leader in marine conservation, and assistant art editor at The Centrifugal Eye.