Two Poems

by Reid Mitchell

For Zhu Yan Mei
Phoenix who'd be reborn in a swirl of snow,
fire frozen white, tongue of ice, song stopped
breaking toward no moon, no sun,
but to the stars,
Carve the sky into blue slices.
You tell me you drink nothing,
eat ice, live on flight alone.
The closer the sun, the colder we grow:
plumage frozen, the phoenix plummets
and falls again into snow and flame.

I poisoned the words for love.
Better to grind ink for a master,
setting it black in a well of stone,
for her to show a story whole,
in one unwavering stroke,
one fragrant line.

We will hang the scroll in her shop,
and sell our love to passers-by.

Reid Mitchell comes from New Orleans, where he still maintains a mailing address, but has been staying in Hong Kong.  Any places he lays his hat is his home.  Both these poems were written in a sports bar in the Charterhouse Hotel, and he especially thanks Alison and Queenie for their help.  He has published works of history, fiction, poetry, and, in collaboration with Hong Kong poet Tammy Ho Lai-Ming, a series of dialogues. His poems have  most recently appeared in Asia Literary Review, Origami Condom, and Poetry Macao.