Robin Rosen Chang


Beyond this ledge    a plateau
              rippling stone cones and spires
                                       capped in flat rock
                                                    rows of pink and orange
                                                             one behind the next
                                                                              like lines

          of soldiers  
I think about you, father
standing at attention, hand raised
         peaked white cap
                    officer       military intelligence   

                 I knew  
almost nothing else  
 you rarely spoke  
  of those years
                                 you never met combat     you did 
                                                     say that    when we asked  

                                    you started smoking
                     in the Marines

        later,  the cancer
               you were speechless,  still   
                                somehow you managed to

                                                         from the Halls of Monte… to the hills of Tripo…

         you don’t know
                    but  I found photos once   by mistake 
                 when I was a child 
         saw them again
     after you died         a body  
                         by the side of a road
                                      not alive     I felt mute too—

these hoodoos—
       fairy chimneys—

  do they cast magic?

        and this bee
                  almost frozen   midair    

                                     its wings, their thin veins
                   like solder                  
                                          holding them together
                                                lifting it     

                                       the unlikely physics of
                                                      its suspension

                                                                         perhaps like a helicopter                                                                                                                    carrying soldiers                                
                                                                                                                          carrying you—

       its tiny
            striped body
                        moored here
                                          above my hand
                                                       where I’m sitting

                                                                on the edge of a ledge—
                                   not where it should be   flitting in blue
                                         columbine ripe with pollen

I can’t help
          see you
                marooned   unflinching