Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Bella Li

JUST THEN

JUST THEN

JUST THEN

Just then “the water began to fall quite quietly”. We were sitting on a rock ledge with little Jimmy at Goose Lake, waiting for the goose. It was lovely and floral on the shore (it wasn’t often you saw chintz in the wild). The sun was setting over the lake, which gave it a charming wet look, but no goose. It had begun late in the afternoon, like one of those long, warm evenings in New York when ad executives loosen their ties and all the secretaries start taking their clothes off in the street. It had begun like a hole in a bank wall, spitting money. Had it ended? Here on the shores of Goose Lake? Ah, California! I’d give my arm/leg for a shovel and a fat wheelbarrow. All the juicy oranges getting juicier. All the furry marmots running about, eating nuts to pass the time. To tell the truth, Jane said, “to tell the truth it’s been three weeks”. The oranges were silent. Nobody said anything except the marmots, cunningly chewing their nuts. She was right—it had been three weeks and the bastard hadn’t shown up. I thought about my secretary. Little Jimmy shifted uncomfortably on the ledge but didn’t complain. The lake lost its floral aspect. The water was falling horizontally and also, now, quietly.
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JUST THEN

Just then “the water began to fall quite quietly”. We were sitting on a rock ledge with little Jimmy at Goose Lake, waiting for the goose. It was lovely and floral on the shore (it wasn’t often you saw chintz in the wild). The sun was setting over the lake, which gave it a charming wet look, but no goose. It had begun late in the afternoon, like one of those long, warm evenings in New York when ad executives loosen their ties and all the secretaries start taking their clothes off in the street. It had begun like a hole in a bank wall, spitting money. Had it ended? Here on the shores of Goose Lake? Ah, California! I’d give my arm/leg for a shovel and a fat wheelbarrow. All the juicy oranges getting juicier. All the furry marmots running about, eating nuts to pass the time. To tell the truth, Jane said, “to tell the truth it’s been three weeks”. The oranges were silent. Nobody said anything except the marmots, cunningly chewing their nuts. She was right—it had been three weeks and the bastard hadn’t shown up. I thought about my secretary. Little Jimmy shifted uncomfortably on the ledge but didn’t complain. The lake lost its floral aspect. The water was falling horizontally and also, now, quietly.

JUST THEN

Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
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