July/Aug 2015 • Vol. XXXVII No. 4 Poetry |

Python Skin

1 Smoke engulfs a boat in a harbor—we motor  past and recall a flotilla of fishing boats lashed together with Hong Kong skyscrapers  in the distance; when we dock, I continue to bob and smell diesel fumes on water;  though medical researchers extract saliva from gila monsters, draw blue blood  from horseshoe crabs, seeding a cloud is never a cure; on a fireplace mantel,  a flame sways then steadies above a pool of wax, and a tuberose aroma fills the room;  at sunrise, I spot a grapevine leafing out: though no raccoon steps along a fence top  with a vole in its mouth, though no grenade is hurled over here, I recall fires crackling  in jagged lines along a ridge to the west, apple trees out the window vanishing in smoke— haze wherever we look, think, run, stop, be. 2 Beer bottles and diapers thrown out of car windows—  you carry a shovel down to the cattail pond where, each spring, someone cuts a channel and drains

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Arthur Sze’s latest book is The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2021). He is the recipient of a 2022 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation and also of the 2021 Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. His expanded edition of translations of Chinese poetry, The Silk Dragon II, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in the spring of 2024.

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1 Smoke engulfs a boat in a harbor—we motor  past and recall a flotilla of fishing boats lashed together with Hong Kong skyscrapers  in the distance; when we dock, I […]

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By Arthur Sze

1 Smoke engulfs a boat in a harbor—we motor  past and recall a flotilla of fishing boats lashed together with Hong Kong skyscrapers  in the distance; when we dock, I […]

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