It arrives like a lad who ran miles,
sprawls on the snowy field,
put an eye on the days go by like
the wind-swept clouds.

Slipping near the end
of the stage, the fire within cools;
the heart of the frozen lake.

But the core of it still hangs on 
to the warmth of the sun by day,
shivers by night, comprehensive.  

©Byung A. Fallgren

The Lady Plumber’s Song

The Lady Plumber’s Song

I, the plumber, self-employed,
With five children,
Proud as queen.
Flexible time enables me to
Care for sick child, even
Attend Paren’-Teacher conference.
On the way home,
I drop by the cemetery
At the edge of town,
To set the flower at his tombstone
Under the full moon.
“I fixed them all today!” I tell him.
“The clogged toilets at the Sam’s Club.”
So, I smell it.
I almost hear him saying
With mocking gesture.
Only then do I recall the stench that
I perceived as aroma of lilac,
My children in need of
My support. My children,
Yours and mine,
Force of my life.
I am a lady plumber,
Proud as queen.

(The stanzas and indentations of the original poem
are unable to show here due to the problem of WP editor.)

©Byung A. Fallgren

The Lady Plumber’s Song first appeared in
the Santa Clara Review, Volume 107, Issue 2, Spring 2020.
Santa Clara Review is the magazine Published by
Santa Clara University.  To subscribe the magazine, please
email santaclarareview@gmail.com.


child sets the fire
on the Christmas tree
stolen gift

wolves roamed
outside the park killed
unfair life

the neighbor cut the trees
in his yard, disliking the fallen leaves
homeless squirrels

night snow hides
in the empty flowerpot
sun fingers to the snow

©Byung A. Fallgren

Face Mask, not for others

Face Mask, not for others

The flock of gulls at the parking lot,
one wearing a face mask around her neck,
not a souvenir from a day’s trip;

she doesn’t even know how she got it,
nor does she care for it, even annoying.
She’s seen them on humans’ faces
that make her blush to see it on her?

Someone, please take this off me,
she pleads to the clouds
that seem to laugh at her.
Passing wind only try to snap it loose.

©Byung A. Fallgren

Charles Bertram Johnson

by Charles Bertram Johnson

All day the clouds
Grow cold and fall;
And soft the white fleece shrouds
Field, hill and wall;
And now I know
Why comes the snow:
The bare black places lie
Too near the sky.

“Snow” appeared in the Crisis XXI, No 2, December 1920.
Mr. Johnson was born in Callado, Missouri in 1880. He is
the author of the poetry collection, Song’s of My People
(The Corn Hill Company, 1918) among others. He worked
as a teacher and became part of the ministry.

The New Year’s Morning Owl

The New Year’s Morning Owl

At dawn, the little green house sleeps
by the big pine tree, in the corner
of the lazy back yard.
Woo-woo, woo-woo, a message from

the deep voice before vanishing.
And I wonder what the message is about; with
the ghost of the year gone still float round;

with the son still recovering from
the surgery, like a tree with a broken limb;
with the pandemic yet to disappear;
with the world still in the deep thoughts
of sea, of the unresolved;
might as well it be some good news:
the son and the world will not only rebound
but prosper in the new year.
The owl hoots again, unseen.

©Byung A. Fallgren

The Big Brother

The Big Brother

He came home across the ocean,
after years of separation from Mom.
He is small for his age twelve,
even shorter than the younger brother.
He has bright eyes and speaks in soft,
broken English.

His new dad is kind to him;
his little brother also nice;
his mom is all smiley to see him.
It is perfect as he hoped.

It begins to change as his life has been:
his mom’s voice would rise at his slow progress
of English or at his untidy room.
Sometimes, blue marks appear on his arm.
His little brother would call him from the bathroom,
“I need you, Adam. Clean my bottom.”
Who would’ve guessed this becomes one of
his routine chores?

The boy rolls up his eyes; he’s not sure
how long he can take this.
He doesn’t want to go back to his past either;
No way he’d go back to the poor home oversea.
He’d rather endure all of these;
he is learning the irony of life.
All of these, he wonder, worthwhile to look back
and smile someday?

A bird sings at his window, “Let it be, let it be.”

©Byung A. Fallgren