Gerald Yelle

Charm


Sokna talks about the difference

between Vietnamese

and Khmer: “Vietnamese is

angry:—always

shouting.”

She doesn’t think she should be

called-out for saying so.

She’s only describing voices

other sixteen-year-olds

pitch above the factory nightshift

roar.

She thinks the student teacher

might not understand.

He’s looking at the knotted

scarf she wears from a world

she can’t forget

and might not want to

see again. Does her touching it

betray a modesty verging

on chastity, does it

remind her where it’s from?



Recycling New Yorkers


I almost let my subscription lapse

then nine eleven came

and even if the words had to be

drawn through pipes

too low to make out

and full enough of fog to sock us in

I needed the come one

come all of it.

I had to show my support.

On Monday I imagined

I was too wide awake

to stand on the sidelines

or go to the bathroom

out of earshot of the news.

Trains cut through the swamp

in summer sounding

close enough to

touch—and I thought

I’d purge my restless urges

biking down the side

of a Mexican pyramid.

At first I was scared and dizzy

but I liked how

the path held itself aloof from the hills

while at the same time

blending in with them

which must’ve distracted me

from the difficulty

because without the slightest effort

or clue as to how I was

staying on, I was staying on.

 

Gerald Yelle’s books include The Holyoke Diaries and Mark My Word and the New World Order. He has an e-chapbook at Yavaneka Press: Industries Built on Words and a chapbook No Place I Would Rather Be from Finishing Line Press. FutureCycle Press will publish Dreaming Alone and with Others in 2023. He is a member of the Florence, MA Poets Society where he co-edits their journal, Silkworm.