Inauguration day 2017, Oceanside, California


Wishing poles fringe the pier,

wistful wands wave and taper.

Eyes attend the tender tip,

bent low yet not breaking.


The secret of bamboo,

my father used to say,

is how it bends to wind and storm

then rights itself to sky,

its inner fiber strong enough

to stem the tides of time.

How its arc remembers grace,

resilient and wide.

How it resists the trampling boot

with elegance of spry.


Fistfuls of fish are eyed

by longbeaked fowl eyed by strangers

drawn to the strangeness who rush

to show and tell on their devices.


I cross the planks toward sundown

and silhouetted fishers

huddled with their dreams cast

into the yearn of churning blue.


I lean in, my eyes breathe prayers,

I straighten spine, and listen,

then bend back low to confide 

in secrets of bamboo.

(c) Deborah Jang. All rights reserved.

Shantih Journal, Summer 2018  Issue 3.1