Recalling: For Yuan Hongqi & Liu Yu

‘Wait a while!’ Mother would shout, ‘they say
There might be more showers this afternoon.’
            So I recalled, from time to time
How he would turn a deaf ear to her
And continue, dragging out quilts
Sheets, pillows, blankets, padded coats
One pile after another
Like moving forests
Hanging them on thick ropes
Tied to deformed poplars or lamp posts
‘Not again! This old man of mine just wouldn’t
Want to waste a single ray of sunlight.’
            And remembered, for nearly half a century
My dad had tried each time to empty the whole house
And sun-wash everything, more like a grandma
Than like a father, even during the Cultural Revolution
            Now realizing how I have been haunted
By his stark image, smiling, in blue, ever since
He nodded his head to Mother for the last time
About 5 pm on January 2 last year
            I find myself choked again with gratitude:

It was my father who gave me so many a chance
To smell fresh sunlight in my boyish nightmares


Changming Yuan, four-time Pushcart nominee and author of Allen Qing Yuan, holds a PhD in English, teaches independently, and edits Poetry Pacific in Vancouver. Yuan’s poetry appears across 23 countries in over 600 literary publications, including: Barrow Street, Best Canadian Poetry, Best New Poems Online, LiNQ, London Magazine, Poetry Kanto, Paris/Atlantic, Poetry Salzburg, SAND, and Taj Mahal Reivew. Poetry submissions are welcome at: