an Aotearoa poetry journal | ISSN 2744-3248

Poems by Yvonne Wang

This Is a COVID-19 Announcement

Yvonne Wang

Published on
page 8 of Tarot #2
(June 2021)

the days bleed together
into muddled grey skies
and zoom classes you pay
just half your attention
to. you miss your friends and
cherish the loneliness
in equal measure. your
teachers assign work it
takes you hours to do,
not because you can’t do
it, but because you can’t
find the energy to.

at one o’clock you tune
into the one news live
press conference with the
prime minister and the
director-general
who has risen to new
heights of nationwide fame.
they announce the cases
and deaths. your town has a
cluster; your friend’s mother
gets a test. you are scared.

the cluster grows. your dad
leaves the house for the store
and you pray to a god
you don’t even believe
in. he is older than
you; he could die from this.
your sister coughs and you
freeze; she could die from this.
it is in your nature
to worry about things
that you can’t control. the
cases rise, and you pray.

the days pass, even though
you don’t feel them. you walk
into your garden and
pace circles around the
clothing line, breathing in
fresh air and thinking of
viruses and hospitals
and ventilators. you
are grateful for the air.

you sit and watch tv.
when the familiar
advertisement comes on,
the cursed jingle and lady’s
light, calm tone, you close your
eyes and think about the
beauty and ugliness
of being trapped at home
in a world made anew.

Seasons

Yvonne Wang

Published on
page 42 of Tarot #2
(June 2021)

i. summer

the fan spins artificial wind into
your face. sweat sticks to the underarms of
every shirt. pollen drifts up your nose and
makes you sneeze, and your eyes redden and sting.
when you go to the beach, sand sticks to the
wet crevices between your toes and your
shoes sink into the grains. the ocean slams
against the shoreline and laps at your legs,
dampening the hem of your shorts. waves surge
and calm down and rise and calm, like clockwork.
the burning sun watches, swimming in blue.

ii. autumn

orange leaves spiral down and meet the ground
only to be crushed beneath the sole of
a careless shoe. caretakers scrape the dead
children of the trees and pile them up for
kids to laugh and jump into. rain blankets
the grass and the sun comes out to warm it
dry, taking turns to keep the time turning.
the trees shed their hoard, leaving branches bare
in preparation for the cold ahead.
the earth settles down and waits for the chill.
the sun lingers, hiding behind clouds.

iii. winter

it does not snow where you live, but sometimes
you close your eyes and pretend that it does,
white falling from the sky and dusting the
rooftops. you open your mouth to the sky
and dream of snowflakes dancing through the air
and coming to rest on your tongue. you pull
your jacket tighter around your body
and shiver underneath your umbrella.
many things sleep through this period of
the year; you wish you could be one of them.
the sun rarely comes out to break the grey.

iv. spring

flowers bloom in thick grass and trees regain
their clothes, green leaves cloaking long branches. the
bees hum their excitement as they rest on
petals and ferry yellow dust between
blossoms. you open the window and let
the breeze drift in. birds hop from treetop to
treetop, broadcasting their joyful song to
everyone. the air tastes like blankets in
fluttering fields and honey on warm bread.
the world comes back to life under your feet.
the sun reappears, wearing blue and grey.

v. and then it starts all over again.