Poetry

OCCUPIED

Landscapes, by He Weipu (1844-1925). Album of eight leaves; ink and color on paper. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

*****

Underneath this day, another

The way morning – shang
sits on top of afternoon

What is past is
what we see –

Speculation as to how long this war will last.
Con Cater says 3 months. Ethel Taylor says 12 months.
I say three years.

The pages fill. Each day a blank.

*****

Then, my stomach –

moldy flour,

wanting news from home, and

a body is what we bring,

what we offer. I’ve taken a strange

language into my mouth but

press gangs busy taking Chinese off streets is what

this hand writes,

records

****

Samuel Johnson said, no detail too small

Mending and tea and washing
everything on days with
blessed hot water

Christmas letters written,
then destroyed

Black houses and
streets

One day, only this –

Something to remember

Betty’s face, when she came in
with the red rose

 
 
*The above poems are based on the diary of an American missionary and teacher who lived in Shanghai during the Japanese occupation of that city before and after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December, 1941.

Genevieve Leone’s poems have recently appeared in The Curator and Right Hand Pointing. She lives and teaches in Shanghai, China.
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