INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
Paul B. Roth
John F. Buckley &
Jennifer Burd &
Karyn M. Bruce
Michael Gessner &
Martin Camps &
M. J. Iuppa
Ann Arbor Review
is an independent
International Journal & ezine
Copyright (c) 2012
All rights revert back to each poet.
--editor / Southeastern Florida
Fred Wolven, editor
I stand in front of the mirror and wrap
shroud around it; now it is
And after I bind it with a thick burgundy
cord, and lock you up in my cabinet, I
think: now we are both set free.
He says to me: ties bind; but I reply with: bindings
break. And as the plane taxies off the runway, I think
of the time we were playing hopscotch
down by the pond behind our house,
when he found a baby magpie under the gum-tree.
It was chirping, and when we looked up,
we say a black-and-white head rise from the nest,
calling out shrilly when it saw its young cupped
in my brother's hand. He climbed the tree carefully,
gripping the branches with his spare hand
until he reached the nest, where he slid the chick back in.
He told me that baby birds had to remain in their nest
till they could fly. And that birds were not like us,
they were not bound to a family like we were.
That once they left their nests, they went their separate
ways. They were not rooted to one spot
like we were.
My friend says I'm obsessed with finding my own Xanadu.
That I'm looking for some kind of utopian paradise.
I don't know if she knows that the word 'utopia'
comes from the Greek phrase ou topos,
which means no place, or nothingness.
So I'm dreaming of a paradise that doesn't exist.
I'm searching for nowhere.
On the morning of my seventh birthday,
my grandmother gave me a parakeet.
She taught me how to clip the feathers
on the outermost part of its wings
so that it would not be able to fly properly.
That way, it can't escape, she told me.
And in the afternoon, my brother and I re-enacted scenes
from the American Revolution that he learnt
in his history lessons. And as we chanted:
give me liberty or give me death,
I watch my new parakeet flap its wings
The gum-tree behind my house has been eaten away
by mildew. Now only a stump remains.
It always seemed so tall and sturdy
when I had been just a child. I used to believe
that I could climb it straight up to a place of my own.
To my personal paradise. But
I had not known how to climb a tree then.
Instead, I watched wide-eyed as my brother
swung himself upwards from branch to branch
(angry tears welling, arms still red
and stinging from our father's belt),
seeking our utopia. Nothingness.
Time will not forget.
(It has been a year since I lifted off from this
airport. And when the plane touches down,
there will be one fewer face welcoming me
at the gate,
and as I reach out for them,
will my arms hold
Why did he never tell me that the ties that
bind tightest exist only to be shredded and torn,
while those that you believed you could cut
always turn out to be stronger than we thought?
I lift you out of my cabinet and you fall
to the ground, staring back unblinkingly
as we join hands on your hard, glassy
surface to unwrap you from your black
sheath; but though we deny our exact
reflection, to free you (and me) we cannot
walk separate: our entwined hands
must not push back each
Qinqin Huang, Singapore