Greg Huteson

Desk Inventory

The books are on the right in puddled light,
left at the corner of the pinewood desk
short inches from the postcards bought at Fort
Zeelandia, the fort the Dutchmen built 
or, was it, forced the local folks to build
on sand along the island’s southwest coast.

The earnest postcard sketches, black-and-white,
are stacked inside an off-white envelope.
“Fucheng” is written on its flap in red. 
Fucheng, the first real city of this place,
known first as Tayouan, later Anping, last
and still as Tainan, still with mossy walls.

As for the books left in the offhand pile,
there’s a Mauriac reader—frequently reread,
its novels augurs of the human heart,
a Chinese Union Bible, and a thick
new poetry anthology, the work
of thirteen lucky poets of Taiwan.

The poems or most or more than some are fine,
as crafted as the coasters on the desk,
neglected in a corner in the dust.
The coasters slightly stained from coffee spills
that don’t obscure the sparrow perched on thorns
or the verse on the hope of refuge in the Lord. 

The only other items are the toys:
a dull brass toilet and a cartoon lamb 
glued onto wood—two pencil sharpeners— 
and a rounded top perched on a tiny stand,
at rest until there is an urge to stop
and fiddle with its dark brown, oak-hard stem.

Greg Huteson’s poems have recently appeared in THINK, the Alabama
Literary Review
, Macqueen’s Quinterly, The Literary Bohemian, and Better Than Starbucks, and his chapbook, These Unblessed Days, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books. He lives in Taiwan.