Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 18
Spring 2018


by Diana Ha

Those long languid days of childhood, old age
was a far off village even if I saw it every day,
face to Grandmother’s overripened face, something
removed I would never visit, New York wasn’t made
of straw and clay

but time is funny, its sleight of hand dissolves
the seasons like a flurried deck of cards and no matter
that I am the Queen of Hearts in my kingdom, the rules
don’t bend, youth is not my friend

for life, out from the dusk bathed in hopscotch dirt, the cold
relief of fountain water at summer’s park, looking up
and always seeing my mother beautiful in her sun hat, juggling
oranges from her grass, taking a breath from suffering to say
life is a lark

Her mother cut up apples for her grandchildren, and I can’t
hold up the shame: I saw those corrugated
fingers, spotted like a dappled bulldog, around the slice I was
eyeing, and didn’t take it. Even then I knew
my grandmother’s fairy godmother would not ignore me,
my touch will look, to someone I love, someday,
unpalatable the same

and now I feel oldness on the other side of the wall, why,
it wasn’t remote, after all. It was right here,
it’s supernatural, like God, walks through brick and paint
on plaster, paint on my face, lipstick, bone, my canvas shawl
embroidered with veins, it is generous in its gifts and I
back away, politely, decline what I can,
thank you.


—Honorable Mention, the Steve Kowit Poetry Prize 2017; first published in the San Diego Poetry Annual 2017-18 (Garden Oak Press, February 2018) and appears here with permissions from the publisher and the poet


SHJ Issue 18
Spring 2018

Diana Ha

is a contributing columnist with Home School Enrichment magazine. Her blog publishes poetry and discusses art, culture, and achievement with artists from around the globe.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury