The war is in the distance

   but coffins arrive at night by plane

as we sleep in our house and the pipes

   are the only things that weep.

When Salvator Giunta was awarded

   the Medal of Honor he spoke

of his dead buddies and the night

   when the sky had more bullets than stars.

I had marched against the war

   and heard my own voice soar and dip

and slip like a fish back to the sea.

In a city called Hom the dictator’s bombs

   drop on his people and a survivor

lashes out at the TV cameras, asking

   why do you watch us die?

In the quiet of my house I look out

   and see neither bullets nor stars

I watch and watch, my tongue tied.


Pui Ying Wong was born in Hong Kong. She is the author of two chapbooks: Mementos (Finishing Line Press), Sonnet for a New Country (Pudding House Press) and a full length book of poetry Yellow Plum Season (New York Quarterly Books, 2010). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in New York Quarterly, Gargoyle, The Asian Pacific American Journal, Blood Lotus Journal, Blue Fifth Review, Chiron Review, decomP, Poet Speaks, Red River Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review and some others. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Web, and she is a finalist in Best of the Net 2011 edition. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, the poet Tim Suermondt.

While watching the news on television one night, I was struck by how connected and yet disconnected
I was from events here in my relatively peaceful Brooklyn neighborhood.  This feeling of being and not
being stayed with me throughout the night, and prompted the writing of this poem.




Copyright 2009