High Water & Other Poems

by Reid Mitchell

High Water (For Qiu Jin)

Du Fu says the rains come
to encourage poetry
We write our best in the dark

Dark water rises to drive us
from our gardens and onto
the roofs of prisons

We float out frail poems
asking gods unknown
for rescue

Widening river
black clouds


In Hong Kong

The fisherman breaks the crab
to fry red in garlic and hot pepper

The crab’s claws wave fiercely
his shell rigid like rock

his tiny eyes black
his tiny mouth sideways biting

Yet the fisherman can break the crab
and fry it in red pepper and garlic


I Smell a Familiar Hurricane in Guang Zhou

These frogs sound as if they swam from home
Sure the Pacific would’ve drowned them
These green palms sway in this storm
Canton calls typhoon

Huang Zongxi warned his prince
“Make all coins bronze
“The rich man will be known by his hernia
People won’t carry the weight to leave home”


Editor’s Note on High Water & Other Poems

Apart from High Water & Other Poems, Reid Mitchell has had the following pieces published in Eastlit:

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