Two Poems

by Mark Mansfield

The Grand Hotel

You did my make-up for our Senior Play—
Inherit the Wind, and I was playing Drummond.
Our lives then half a world away: Taipei.

In a crash pad a block off Dupont Circle,
that summer we made love one afternoon.
Recently back Stateside—you to one school;

I to one school after the next. How soon
like a reel of brittle film, Taipei unspooled,
its temples and real dragons turned to wind.

The taxis on Zhongshan race through the night,
as I slowly hike up Yuanshan where the lights
of the Grand still trace its gilded tiles. A wind
flares up, and near a path by the entrance lawn
a gui po* grins, her teeth blood-red, or gone.

*The ghost of an old woman

That Strange Sea

Why does that strange sea make no sound?
―Elizabeth Bishop

No sound, the horizon like a mirror wrought
from wind and waves. With her sails damaged yet full,
a derelict tosses: a speck from an abandoned pier
and its mime of frantic gulls and raging fronds.

A massive surge crashes against her hull―
still not a sound, quiet as an idle thought.
The storm advances on clouds that were far off.
But her sails have rent. The shore is now quite near.

Mark Mansfield is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, Strangers Like You (2008, revised 2018, Chester River Press) and Soul Barker (2017, Chester River Press). His poems have appeared in The Adirondack Review, Anthropocene Poetry, Bayou, Blue Mesa Review, Canary, Former People, Fourteen Hills, Gargoyle, Iota Magazine, The Journal, London Grip, Magma Poetry, Measure, Salt Hill Journal, Tulane Review, Unsplendid, Visitant, and elsewhere. He was a recent Pushcart Prize nominee. Currently, he lives in upstate New York.

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