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Arlene Ang: Two Poems

There is very little left | The Cloud Goddess Recalls a Paper Boat

There is very little left

of Thursday here; thunder trumpets away all prints:
the snails on stucco walls, soiled boxes of the latest

anti-aging creams, a paper announcing fifty deaths.
Behind the terrace glass, a neighbor's child licks

ice cream. It could be lemon sherbet, it could be
sugar-free vanilla. In Isla Chaņaral, the diving petrels

have fed for the night; in the dark, they are invisible.
Here a plastic cup somersaults along the street,

leaves simulate tours en l'air of chartreuse ghosts.
Some days I am numb to storms, the slams of garden

doors, the clothesline strummed by tense wind.
It is simple to keep calm, call objects by their given

names: pocket, eraser, ashtray, candle, steak knife.
A seabird can be black and white, a pair of whirring

wings, the rapid pulse beneath a wrist. Its webbed
feet are graphite-blue, the reflected clouds, Ave verum

in the grain, the burrow in the guano.
Pale stripes in scapulars are scimitars, recurring

scalpels of quarter moon, eyelids that close
in sleep, needles of rain penetrating gravel.

The Cloud Goddess Recalls a Paper Boat

Nine dragons sleep outside the palace walls,
twelve fairy maidens light corridors with iridescent
wings, twenty-six dead warriors guard the east
tower; in the garden, one unflowering peach tree.

The gold peonies on her opium pipe are gone.
She is back on the west bank of Black Gourd
River, a small boy on her lap. His uncle, a thief,
made the paper boat before dying in prison.

It gleamed yellow in the water, then sunk.
She was mute and childless, the boy's arms
tender bamboo shoots in her grip. He dived,
disappeared quietly like eyes opening to dawn.

She blows snake shapes, her lips two red
quarter moons. Smoke soars, the sky suddenly
suffused with white: it's snow, perhaps ivory
dust, perhaps milk from her aching breast.

Poet's Biography:
Arlene Ang lives in Venice, Italy where she edits the Italian edition of Niederngasse. Her poetry has been published, among others, in The Adirondack Review, Melic Review, Mississippi Review Online, The Pedestal Magazine, Poetry Midwest, Rattle and Smiths Knoll (UK). Her first full collection of poetry, The Desecration of Doves is currently available through, Barnes & Noble and

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