The Lawn

Wong May


This is the lawn I looked out on in August

Not knowing you were dead.

All of July you were about to die,

This is the lawn.

July, certainly the best part of,

You were in mortal danger.

In September came the news.

This is the lawn. The grass is norm.

The grass too looks photographed.

Each blade dips, is dipped

Overnight in August, in acid.

These the deer that appeared

All July & most of August.

& the geese honking like a house in flight,

This is the lawn.


A woman wrote

Far into the night, woke.

This is the house broken into in July

Mid-July toward August

By a burglar or a nosy neighbour

The woman woke

In the dark
One lurid green light

A fire-fly

let in by the burglar

Scribbling left

Right, close/

No closer

Over & over

Knocking about

O Inadmissible,


You didn’t say

It’s Over?

Doubling back, half frantic



How you tried.


This is the house.

She has checked with the lawn.

The lawn chairs in pajama stripes.

30 days hath September.

This is the woman.

It is still only July.

In all the house there isn’t a sound.

What burnt so bright

Inside or out

Left on

Or held battering the night

You burn to say


To her now

This side

It’s you all right,


Wong May was born in China and has published four books of poetry in the U.S. Her most recent collection is Picasso’s Tears: Poems, 1978–2013. She recently translated In the Same Light: 200 Tang Poems for Our Century. She lives in Dublin and paints much of the time to get away from words.
Originally published:
December 6, 2022


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