A Poem After The Accident In China


Persimmon Tree in Shunyi                                                                          


The air is clear and good today. 

There is a gentle breeze in Beijing 

Inside the 5th Ring. 

My daughter left the doors ajar. 

“The temperature is perfect” she told me.

She went out for a run and an old woman 

Pointing at her powerful legs exclaimed, “Cold! Very cold!”

Niamh laughed and came home 

To let the air into the house.

In the mountains of Northern New Mexico so far away 

There was once an old Spanish woman pushing her cows through ponderosa

Who had stopped and warned Niamh’s mother about the cold and the bears.

“This is no place for a young mother!” She exclaimed. 

Laura listened to Maggie Velarde's advice and pushed the stroller deeper into the wilderness. 


Outside my chamber

Birds gather in a tall tree wedged between the houses

It’s outrageous appearance is hard to ignore.

Today is halloween and nothing screams

Autumn like a persimmon tree. Trick or treat! 

Pancaked pumpkins served on arched stems that bob.

Stiff red leaves stubborn to fall

Flap clumsily as if they were fins

On a fat old Koi stuck in summer weeds.

Large blue magpies, the Chinese call “Xi-que” hang sideways,

And search for soft openings in the tough fruit.

From my angle, they are shy cloaked wizards defiant of the laws of physics

On a huge ridiculous mobile of fruit that hovers. 

Typically loud and harsh

In this ritual they mutter something to each other very quietly

As their heads disappear into the fruit, to eat.

They are satisfied and have nothing to say. 

The last red leaves twist on broken hinges high above.


I would like to leave this earth so decorated

So red and orange

So heavy with fruit ready to eat for “Xi-que.” 

Like this Shunyi persimmon tree 

Inside the 5th Ring

Where birds cling

Defiant and silent as I sway 

Into autumn slumber

An oddity amongst the pines. 


November 7th, 2023














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