November brings us a lovely poem by Karen An-hwei Lee, wherein a speaker ruminates simultaneously on aging and youth. The poem is filled with gentle sibilances and delicate images that emulate the ephemeral quality life. Read this one somewhere quiet, where you can sit with it afterwards.
-- Karissa Chen, Fiction & Poetry Editor
A glyph falls in the light sill to floor.
Nianqing is young.
On the noon of my fortieth year, I say the word lin,
fish-scale in Mandarin.
Neither youthful nor ancient halfway to eight-zero,
a seamless mark divides my longevity -- if I live
to eighty – an octogenarian rises
with a blue-green wealth of years,
glistening sloughed lin. Lying on
the ocean under my soul, praying for years to sum
not merely pleasure -- silver-haired as a mottled orchid,
an octogenarian whispers a thought,
then a riddle --
Do you remember a young woman
who once wrote a ghazal?
She spoke my name, this one.
The stanzas wept syllables
until its rhymes were thin as star-trails,
thinner than fish-scales --
Who is she?