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Two Poems by Phillip Chiao

Sweet Corn


We each hold a corn

on the cob with both of our hands

and right in our faces.


For a moment, we are just

two chipmunks, digging in,

mouthful of golden nuggets.


I want to sing it loud:

“How Sweet It Is

To Be Loved By You.”


I sweep across the corn field

like a John Deere harvester, each bite

takes down a few rows

and a few columns.


I’ve cleared one last swath before

giving my ear

a quarter round turn, looking up:


the cob has taken a big bite out

of your smile, but

there is a twinkle in your eyes.


I manage to say:

“How sweet it is!”



 

Autumn in LA

Autumn in LA — all but a line in the desert sand.


What is the chance of Japanese maples — trapped

in the courtyard of our apartment complex, stripped

bare by the gardener, now teased

into unfurling folds

of hundreds

of green, apple green buds, only

to be burned, alive

and again, on the stakes.


You, too, a delicate and exotic transplant, yielding

to the first ocean breeze, falling

for a love that has all of the promises

of a desert spring but the brutalities

of a desert summer.


Tomorrow is winter solstice.


Tonight I will dream of you, and

of waking up to rain drops falling off the tips

of hundreds

of green, apple green maple leaves.



 



Philip Chiao is a resident of Pasadena. He was born in Taiwan and spent three of his teen years in Libya before coming to America at the age of seventeen. He was a graduate of Belmont High School, Los Angeles. He holds a B. A. in Environmental Design and a M. Architecture. He had practiced architecture for more than 40 years before retiring in 2017. His personal perspective has been greatly enriched by the variety of life and cultural experiences. Since retirement, he spends time with family, friends and volunteers in local communities. His hobbies include painting, writing and studying the history of Asian and Asian American laborers in the salmon canning industry of the America West.

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