A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 

Marco Yan


Roses in a mason jar, both the blossoms
and the withering—black wine in glasses,
the first round, the inevitable second—
the instant when a candle flickers, dims,
returns to its glow, and the two lovers appear
slightly different and look at each other like dogs
regarding an apple dropped on the grass.
20/20 and colorblind. The urge to say
I register you, what are our possibilities?
and the knowledge of silence, organic
and orchestrated. Both this and that.
The restlessness of spending the night
in a bed foreign and familiar and the calm
morning when she sneaks out and he
sleeps in. It’s her putting on makeup on a train
and him rinsing his mouth in the bathroom
while his left eye refuses to take a contact lens.
She checks her lips in a shop window as he lifts
his eyelid, index finger steady, tapping his cornea—
he taps, and he taps it until it reddens,
clears, then flowers again.


One summer, a colleague of mine gave me a house the size of a thumb, a miniature model home from Amsterdam,or Rotterdam. When I moved from Hong Kong to New York, I brought it with me, put it next to my books and found it too small to be a bookend, too big a thing to be lost. Well, that's a souvenir.

Marco Yan is a Hong Kong-born poet who is currently studying poetry in New York. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Whiskey Island, Prairie Schooner, Sixth Finch and more. He now lives in Brooklyn.