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After a long period

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 After a long period
 by Arlene Ang

After a long period

of riding from village to village
on the losing end of a quest, the moon is
bloated with ghosts again. The surcoat
with its aortic cross lies tethered
to carrion beneath clouds of ravens.
Stars needle the sky like dying heartbeats.

Wharram: a crowd gathers,
the faces prickle disquiet up my spine.
A servant girl, head tipped towards the light,
asks news of the dragon. In those eyes,
my reflection: suit of armor, gauntlet flecked
with dried blood. My raised visor reveals

a thick scar clawing across the left cheek,
gray-lanced beard. In short, I have
returned. The horse sweats of thirst;
on my side, one steel arm hangs empty.

* * *

Arlene Ang’s latest poetry collection Banned for Life was published by Misty Publications in 2014. She is also the author of The Desecration of Doves (2005), Secret Love Poems (Rubicon Press, 2007), Bundles of Letters Including A, V and Epsilon (Texture Press, 2008), co-written with Valerie Fox, and Seeing Birds in Church Is a Kind of Adieu (Cinnamon Press, 2010). Her poems have appeared in Ambit, Caketrain, Diagram, Poetry Ireland, Poet Lore, Rattle, and Strange Horizons. She lives in Spinea, Italy.

Where do you get the ideas for your poems?

Content-wise, I get ideas from books, television, daily life, and interaction with other people. I find that experimenting with different forms of poetry (sonnets, haibun, etc.) helps set the canvas for me, gives me a sort of launch pad. I also love magazines that have theme issues or, like Mirror Dance, are angled toward a specific genre. My mind tends to be very chaotic and needs to have what yogis call a “drishti” (focal point) to help it focus.