archives fall 2008



Three Lotus Ponds

A boy had three lotus ponds:
sky blue bloomed in one, sunrise pink in another,
ivory white in the third.

He had three palaces: one for the cold
season, another for the hot season, another
for the rainy months. Leaning on carved
sandalwood panels, he listened to musicians
starry-eyed women plucking strings.
Their slender white fingers shone in the mist.

One day, he left the palace for a walk.
He saw a wailing crowd by the Ganges,
a corpse on a funeral pyre.
As it burned he felt the change within him.

Years later
a bowl of water became the ocean.
He became the Buddha.



A greedy merchant in China substituted powdered sugar
for baby formula. Thirty thousand infants
died of malnutrition.

In the jungle each mother breast-feeds her young
to avoid predators tracking them
through the smell of tiny feces.

The air’s minute vibrations awaken her:
the baby crying three rooms away.
Her breasts become fountains of milk.

She became a vegetarian after reading
a Harvard professor’s review of cannibalism
in literature. It elaborated on a novel
by a man about auctioning off a mother
and her child, with the crowd
debating their qualities as meat.
Three miscarriages followed in two years.
At the first sign of this baby she resumed eating
chicken, lit incense in a Buddhist temple.
She dreams of humans evolving into
pure energy, having no need to eat living things.
The future beings absorb nutrients
from the air, leaving behind the receding music
of their luminous wings.  


Yun Wang’s first book of poetry, The Book of Jade, won the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize from Story Line Press and was published in 2002. Her poetry chapbook titled The Carp was published by Bull Thistle Press in 1994. She has published poems in numerous literary journals, including the Kenyon Review, Green Mountains Review, International Quarterly, Poet Lore, and many others. She is a cosmologist and an associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Oklahoma.