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.