The Skeleton of a Female Fox / Yard Sale / Copse / As If in a Dream

by Yuan Changming

CC0 Public Domain


The Skeleton of a Female Fox

There is a fairytale told, and retold again
In Ming Dynasty, about the skeleton of a coquettish fox
That takes on the shape of a beautiful young woman
Ready to offer herself to a poor obscure guy

Like a magician she brings rich food and wine
To him during the day, and uses her two mouths
To suck up all his yuanqi (energy or masculinity)
At night until he dies in ecstasy of sexual love

Then, the immortal woman would marry another
While many hungry boys would rather become
That lucky guy. I enjoy thinking of that fox
Like a deformed soul wearing a human mask

With hair behind, which makes it feel itchy
While all men are waiting, in anxiety



Yard Sale

A whole box of human hearts, each
Still beating fresh like skinned toads

Two rows of shiny skeletons of unknown gods
All fingers longer than legs, toes bigger than skulls

Three sets of knives, blades extremely blunt
With evil spirits and devilish impulses

Four giant alarm clocks, making thunderous noises
Waking up all dead from as many directions

Five bottles of wine filled with soaked souls
As colouful as the rainbow above the styx

Can I just have the reddist heart please?
Sure, it’s free




Posted on by
Standing straight against the frozen sky
Your skeletons are the exquisite calligraphy
Of the season
Your name is writ
Not in water
But with wind



As If in a Dream

Flying between sea and sky
Between day and night
Amid heavenly or oceanic blue
I lost all my references
To any timed space
Or a localized time
Except the non-stop snorting
Of a stranger neighbor

Then, beyond the snorts rising here
And more looming there
I see skeletons of tigers, lions, leopards
And other kinds of hunger-throated predators
Darting out of every passenger’s heart
Running amuck around us
As if released from a huge cage



Yuan Changming published monographs on translation before leaving China. With a Canadian PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan and hosts Happy Yangsheng in Vancouver; credits include nine Pushcart nominations, Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17), BestNewPoems Online, Threepenny Review and 1,369 others worldwide.

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