Two Poems

by Justin Han

Illustration by Justin Han

published February 1, 2019


Mentions this only as strange

ordeal, her translation resisting

delivery—vegetable state and

we’ll see no more of Tsalia,

Damia, Disekia, each of them

intact and unknowable. In the uppercase

half of the alphabet I know,

I can build the set of their ‘54, parse

the scattershot threads of its design.

A ham-fisted flaring up to earth,

then mules kneeling, storks’ nests

dismantling atop Marathea’s walls falling

and pried like walnuts open. Even if

she says these are generous facts, gifts

of the raconteur, I hear them still in bells tolling

cavernous off the herd, inside cafes named

after opium and the Western. He was there,

she parrots, when each person fell into the next

in mourning dependable ground; in processions

that took homes’ stone husks north, a town

taken back to the bole.


The Long Yard

And so I take it upon myself to caulk

the open prairie, cover corners


dumbly reserved for no one, stalks gripping

the fallow field. For reference, see an office lot


at sundown, its empty threats still holding ground.

Already the silo hatches early to wrens, offside,


a ditch welcomes rear wheels. Trip mountains

scaled down, find the fusebox blown out


and exposed. All worth here we qualify

by first impression: the open claw


looking functional but buried in a wall’s

fatal perforations, the cables tonguing slyly


from a second floor removed. Dangled invisible,

the rhododendron blooms ornamental. In a mess


of straw see a keyboard planted with black breaches

for keys. We pursue giddy these harsh corners, impossible


slants, sing away this remnant bliss as it ages

not a day, then nip what needs continuance


with concrete and mortar. No spare muscle

to clear the gazebo out, fumbling at the wick


and so it is on only me to