Garden Scene 
Marco Yan

for A.T.

Small sips, ma used to say, take what you need and be. I listened,

and ever since, whatever I desire has been just out of reach.

That’s why this Japanese garden, drenched in east light, appears violent—

peonies fat and pompadoured and leaking pink and scarlet on the mulch,

leaves heavy with agenda, their shadows deep, such sweetness the air.

How much—how much brilliance can I swallow on this late winter day?

Last night, in bed, I wished you didn’t try to hide the scar on your right arm or shake

as my lips traced the branch of its tenderness, the history of an ugly cut.

Your face was all flowers, but I was thinking of fruit, tart juice, the smite.

Right now, amidst lush and abundance, I watch the colors simmer cautiously.

Even if I dare not pick this stalk for myself, it doesn’t mean it won’t bear buds,

it doesn’t mean the bulge won’t burst to a blossom.

I’m afraid I want to come close to you again, and again I want to

look at this unraveling of fire—slow, adventitious, almost certain.

Marco Yan is a Hong Kong-based poet, whose works appeared in Guernica, Epiphany, and the Scores, among other places. He can be found at www.marcoyan.com.


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