“Y” by Changming Yuan

“Y” is published in The Hart House Review 2013.

You love ‘Y’, not because it’s the first letter
In your family name, but because it’s like
A horn, which the water buffalo in your
Native village uses to fight against injustice
Or, because it’s like a twig, where a crow
Can come down to perch, a cicada can sing
Towards the setting sun as loud as it wants to
More important, on the muddy bank of the Nile
It began as a tall reed, something you can
Bend into a whistle or flute; in pronouncing it
You can get all the answers you need, besides
You can make it into a heart-felt catapult
And shoot at a snakehead or sparrow, as long
As it lands within the range of your boyhood


Changming Yuan, 4-time Pushcart nominee and author of Allen Qing Yuan, holds a PhD in English, teaches privately, and edits Poetry Pacific in Vancouver. Yuan’s poetry appears in 659 literary publications across 25 countries, including Asia Literary Review, Best Canadian Poetry (2009, 2012), BestNewPoemsOnline, Dalhousie Review, LiNQ, London Magazine, Nashwaak Review, Paris/Atlantic, Poetry Kanto, Salzburg Review, SAND, Threepenny Review and Two Thirds North. Poetry submissions welcome at yuans@shaw.ca.