Pui Ying Wong

May 26, 2017 Wong Pui Ying


After Jim Moore


If like a Buddhist I accepted the world
as it was given, without judgement,

does it mean I would remain unmoved
by any atrocities, any tragedies?

Karma gives birth to snakes, swine,
songbirds. Step out of one life

and come back as another,
a woman with an enigmatic smile

was once a man, a pauper or a prince,
the possibilities are endless.

A girl from the old neighborhood
is murdered, and before death, tortured.

In The Metropolitan Museum
Buddha turns inward, eyes downcast.

 “Turn around! The bitter sea knows no bound.”
A shout from the dark that says

what’s bitter is not life, only emotion.
But Issa, practitioner of detachment, too, doubted.

What are words if they can’t sing
dirges, when even the crows are crying out.

Pui Ying Wong’s new poetry collection FANLING IN OCTOBER is forthcoming from Barrow Street Press. She has written three other full-length books of poetry: The Feast, An Emigrant’s Winter and Yellow Plum Season —-along with two chapbooks. She has received a Pushcart Prize. Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Plume Poetry, Chicago Quarterly Review, New Letters, Zone 3 and The New York Times, among many others. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she lives in Cambridge Massachusetts with her husband, the poet Tim Suermondt.